Villarreal 1-2 Barcelona: Ronald Koeman’s side emerge victorious thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s brace

Villarreal 1-2 Barcelona: Ronald Koeman’s side emerge victorious in LaLiga showdown thanks to a Antoine Griezmann brace

  • Barcelona emerged victorious at Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday afternoon
  •  Koeman’s side beat Villarreal 2-1 thanks to a brace from Antoine Griezmann
  • Villarreal did, however, make the scoresheet in the 26th minute of the game 

An Antoine Griezmann double gave Barcelona a 2-1 victory over Villarreal and kept Ronald Koeman’s team on course to win LaLiga, if they win their remaining games.

They moved level on points with second place Real Madrid but with a game in hand and have Atletico Madrid, who they stay have to play, in their sights.

There were two big scares however: the first when they went behind early, and the second when Leo Messi stayed down in agony after a red card challenge from Manu Trigueros.

It was Barcelona who emerged victorious at Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday afternoon

Griezmann could have put Barcelona in the lead after just five minutes when Frenkie de Jong teed him up perfectly but his shot was blocked for a corner.

At the other end Villarreal top scorer Gerard Moreno shot over from Samuel Chukwueze’s cross.

Unai Emery’s team were a match for Barcelona early on and when Trigueros spun away from Gerard Pique and slid a pass through to Paco Alcacer the midfielder’s assist deserved a better finish from the Spain forward.

Ronald Koeman's side beat Villarreal 2-1 thanks to a brace from Antoine Griezmann

Ronald Koeman’s side beat Villarreal 2-1 thanks to a brace from Antoine Griezmann

His opening goal came in the 28th minute, with his second coming the 35th minute

His opening goal came in the 28th minute, with his second coming the 35th minute

Barcelona had their best early chance on 15 minutes when Griezmann played Jordi Alba to the byline and he crossed for De Jong unmarked at the back post but the Dutchman’s shot was saved on his line by Sergio Asenjo. The keeper then kept out Messi’s shot as his near post.

MATCH FACTS

Villarreal: Sergio Asenjo; Juan Foyth, Pau Torres, Raul Albiol Alberto Moreno; Samu Chukwueze, Etienne Capoue, Dani Parejo, Manu Trigueros; Gerard Moreno, Paco Alcacer

Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Oscar Mingueza, Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet; Sergino Dest, Frenkie de Jong, Sergio Busquets, Pedri, Jordi Alba; Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann

Villarreal took the lead on 27 minutes and it was Chukwueze’s pace that did for Barcelona’s defence. Paul Torres stepped out from the back and played Villarreal’s lightning quick winger into space. Jordi Alba had followed the Nigerian forward across from the left flank to the right but he slipped and Chukwueze stepped around Ter Stegen to score.

Barcelona’s response was immediate and the story of two dinks. First Oscar Mingueza dinked the ball over the top of Villarreal’s defence and, running on to it, Griezmann dinked the ball over Asenjo for an instant equalizer.

Griezmann then put Barcelona into the lead 10 minutes before the break with another gift of a pass, this time from one of his rivals. Tottenham loanee Juan Foyfth passed the ball back to his keeper but it was cut out en-route by the alert Frenchman who scored his 11th of the season in La Liga.

Koeman brought Sergio Roberto on at the break and, on the break, his run and cross went just beyond Griezmann. Messi then shot over as Barcelona tried to find a third goal to put the game to bed.

Emery, seeing that Villarreal were not getting back into the game took off forward Paco Alcacer and put on former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin.

Koeman looked to respond with Ilaix Moriba but before he could reinforce his midfield Capoue almost scored. His low straight shot was saved by the leg of Ter Stegen.

As a result, Ronald Koeman's side are on track to win the LaLiga title this season

As a result, Ronald Koeman’s side are on track to win the LaLiga title this season

On 65 minutes the game changed, the season could have changed too. Trigueros went studs up into Messi’s ankle. Trigueros had to walk but the straight red would have been little consolation if Messi had been unable to carry on. The unintentional challenge was bad enough to end his season but Barça and Messi’s luck was in – he got up to carry on.

With 10 minutes left Griezmann went off a goal short of what would have been his first hat-trick for Barcelona and Ousmane Dembele came on to run at Villarreal’s defence. Despite having a man-down they were still very much in the game.

With six minutes left De Jong could have eased Koeman’s nerves. Dembele raced away and played the perfect pass to Dutchman but his lob went wide.

Villarreal forced a late corner on 90 minutes and then had to face five minutes of added time but the saw it out and stay on course – a little shaken but with their fate in their own hands.

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