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.
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.
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.
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.