Barcelona blew away a two-goal lead and then fought back from being two goals down to settle for a 4-4 draw with Villarreal in the La Liga game that was played at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Tuesday.
Despite Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic in their starting lineup, the visitors managed to take the lead through Philippe Coutinho’s goal in the 12th minute. Four minutes later, it was Malcom who doubled the advantage for the Catalan outfit with a header after he was picked out by Vidal as Barca took control of the duel.
Samuel Chukwueze pulled one goal back for Villarreal in the 23rd minute with a close-range finish after initially striking the post with a deflected shot. Karl Toko Ekambi levelled things for the Yellow Submarine five minutes into the second half with a shot from the right flank that found the corner of the near post.
Villarreal was in full swing and Vicente Iborra gave the hosts a shock lead in the 62nd minute with a neat finish over goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. The goal came a minute after Messi was introduced for Barca in place of Coutinho.
With 10 minutes left, substitute Carlos Bacca got the fourth goal for the hosts as he latched onto a pass from Santi Cazorla. With Bacca’s conversion, the team had a 4-2 lead. Villarreal was then down to ten men with four minutes remaining after Alvaro Gonzalez picked up his second yellow card.
Soon after, Messi reduced the deficit for Barcelona in the last minute with a free-kick from just outside the box to make for a nervy finish. But, it was Luis Suarez who rescued the visitors in the stoppage time with a left-footed shot to salvage a point on the road.
After the match, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde said, "It was a crazy game, one which it seemed either side could have won comfortably, and it speaks volumes about the strength of this league, where you can never assume you're going to win a game easily."
The 55-year-old Spaniard added, "It was very important not to lose, even though we wanted the three points. The sensation we felt with the late comeback makes us feel very good, it shows we are never ready to give in. If we'd lost we'd be feeling different about the Atletico game."
The draw saw Barcelona's lead over Atletico Madrid, who earlier won 2-0 at home against Girona, cut short to eight points. Barcelona will now play a home game against Diego Simeone's Atlético Madrid on the weekend before travelling to Manchester for the highly anticipated Champions League clash at Old Trafford.
About the Author
Jeet Ghosh is a Football Journalist, living and working in Kolkata with 7 years of experience. He has also worked with Sportzwiki and India.com. Jeet is a sports lover but has special liking for football. He follows the football league’s around the world and is somewhat partial towards Real Madrid.