Villarreal 0-2 Barcelona: Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi on target in win

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Goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were enough for Barcelona to pick up a 2-0 win over 10-man Villarreal at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday.

The visitors were sluggish for long periods, but the dismissal of Villarreal’s Dani Raba – in only his second La Liga match – made their task that much easier for the final half hour.

And the pressure told as Suarez finished smartly to give his side the lead in the 72nd minute, before Messi capitalised on some poor defending to make sure of the three points seven minutes from time – his 49th goal of the calendar year.

 Valencia’s win on Saturday put the pressure on, but Barca got there in the end, as they again opened up a five-point lead at the top of the table with victory. Villarreal stay sixth.

Player ratings

Villarreal: Asenjo (6), Costa (5), Victor Ruiz (5), Alvaro (6), Mario (6), Soriano (7), Rodrigo (6), Semedo (7), Trigueros (7), Raba (4), Bakambu (5).

Subs: Rukavina (6) Castillejo (6).

Barcelona: Ter Stegen (8), Sergi Roberto (6), Denis Suarez (5), Pique (6), Vermaelen (6), Alba (8), Rakitic (6), Busquets (6), Paulinho (5), Messi (7), Suarez (8).

Subs: Cillessen, Semedo, Alcácer, Digne, Andre Gomes, Aleix Vidal, David Costas

Man of the Match: Luis Suarez

Barcelona were a little slow in the early stages though could have taken the lead as early as the fourth minute, but Gerard Pique’s header thundered back off the crossbar.

Villarreal then enjoyed the better of the play, and would have taken the lead themselves but for a fantastic stop from Marc-Andre ter Stegen to deny Roberto Soriano.

Messi had a quiet opening 45 minutes, but almost found the net from the edge of the box just after the half-hour mark, only to see his fizzed effort drift wide.

Team news

Ernesto Valverde brought back Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Paulinho to the starting line-up after resting them in midweek in Champions League. Sergi Roberto also came in for Lucas Digne. Paco Alcacer took his place on the bench. Villarreal also rested plenty of first-teamers in the Europa League on Thursday, but welcomed back Sergio Asenjo in goal after 10 months on the sidelines.

After the break, Barca continued to toil, but they got the break they needed when Raba went flying into a challenge on Sergio Busquets, leaving the referee no option but to brandish the red card.

Jordi Alba then fed Suarez in the middle, only for the Uruguay international to be denied by the post, but with 18 minutes to go, he did get that elusive goal after a fine Barca move.

The sequence was started started by Messi, who fed Paco Alcacer, who delightfully threaded it through for Suarez. He had plenty to do, but superbly rounded Sergio Asenjo before firing home. That was his 50th away goal for Barcelona.

Lionel Messi vies with Villarreal's Ruben Semedo
Lionel Messi vies with Villarreal’s Ruben Semedo

Suarez then volleyed a golden opportunity wide, before Messi made sure of the victory. Busquets cut out a wayward Jaume Costa pass out with ease, fed Messi, who darted between two defenders to make it two and ensure his side maintained their march towards regaining their La Liga crown.

Man of the match – Luis Suarez

It hasn’t really happened for him this season, and in the first half it appeared as though Suarez’s temper was going to get the better, as the offside flag kept being raised. Yet, the Uruguayan refused to be deterred, and kept plugging away, and remained a threat all game.

What’s next

Another seven days until Barcelona’s next match, as they welcome Deportivo to the Nou Camp, while Villarreal travel to Galicia to take on Celta Vigo.

 
-Skysports

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. He is a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow (YALI) who studied at Clark Atlanta University on the Business and Entrepreneurship track. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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