Villarreal 4 – 4 Barcelona Player ratings: Messi comes from the bench to inspire Barcelona to a dramatic draw against Villarreal
It was an intense game at Elstadio El Madrigal as the two teams had to settle for a draw. The tempo of the match was intense throughout the duration of the game as Barcelona ended having a lion share of the possession.
With Lionel Messi settling for a place on the bench, it took the effort of the want away Brazilian midfielder, Philippe Coutinho, to give Barcelona the lead in the twelfth minute, with an assist from his Brazilian colleague Malcom Oliviera.
Four minutes later, his fellow countryman, Malcom Oliviera, who had earlier provided the assist for the first goal, doubled the lead with a fine header. Even though he had been struggling for form due to lack of regular playing time, he was full of agility.
It didn’t take long enough as the Young Nigerian Midfielder, Samuel Chukwueze helped restore a glimpse of hope for Villarreal with a fine strike in the twenty-third minute, coming from a rebound after initially hitting the post.
The rest of the first half ended with chances sprinkling for both sides but none could convert to a goal. Barcelona took the lead into the break with a goal advantage.
With Barcelona pushing for an equaliser, they were punished by a superb through ball from Santi Carzola, who cut the defence open by finding Carlos Bacca. Bacca finding himself in a one on one situation with Ter Stegen rounded him up and slot the ball into an empty net.
The game looked as though it was going to end in favour of the home team, but the turning point was when Alvaro Gonzales was giving a red card for a second bookable offence. This then provided the opportunity for Barcelona to attack with all their forces and Villarreal trying to absorb the pressure.
In the Eighty-ninth minutes, Lionel Messi was clipped just outside the edge of Villarreal box and a free- kick was awarded. Greatest of all time (GOAT) as he is called, curled a perfect free-kick pass the keeper, Sergio Asenjo.
S. Asenjo: (6) He made a couple of saves in the first and second half but could have done more to prevent the equaliser by Luis Suarez
R. Mori: (6) He won some of the tackles he put in, but was caught lapsing on some occasions
V. Ruiz: (6) He played well in the match, but was found wanting on some occasions in his position and Barcelona duelled on that
A. Gonzalez: (5) He should have been more careful with his tackles, having known he was already on a yellow. His dismissal provided the opportunity for Barcelona to exploit on their defence
A. Pedraza: (5) He had an average performance and should have done well enough to prevent Suarez from powering the volley that led to the equaliser
V. Iborra: (7) He had a good game and coordinated the play well. He was also fine by scoring a goal against superb Ter Stegen
S Cazola: (7) He had a good performance and distributed passes well. He also created the chance for Villarreal fourth goal through a wonderful through ball
S. Chuwkueze: (8) He was exceptional in the match and created a lot of problems for the Barcelona defence. Although he missed a chance early in the game, he later scored and provided an assist
M. Morlanes: (6) He was a bit quiet but connected well with his team mates
M. Gaspar: (6) Good spirited display from him but got weary in the later stage of the game
E.Ekambi: (7) He had a wonderful run and got a fantastic goal in the game, but later had to be substituted has he was fading in the game
C.Bacca: (7) He came on with a lot of power and was fortunate to get a goal
S. Caseres: (6) He came on with determination to match the strength of the opponent and he won some of his duels
D. Bonera: (5) He came on late and didn’t get to impact the team performance much
M. Stegen: (6) He made a couple of saves in the match but was at fault for the third goal as he opened too much space for Ekambi to convert
S. Roberto: (5) He won some of his tackles but was found wanting on some occasions
S. Umtiti: (4) He was a bit rusty in the match and this was greatly exploited by the Villarreal attack
C. Lenglet: (6) He had to cover up for Umtiti lapses and made him lacking in his position
J. Alba: (5) He had a tough time trying to stop the fierce attack of Villarreal but later got into the game
A. Vidal: (7) He had a good performance and was fortunate to set up Malcom for the second goal with a wonderful cross
S. Busquets: (6) He wasn’t really at his best but still managed to hold the midfield
A. Arthur: (6) He marshalled the midfield with Busquets and managed to create some chances
P. Coutinho: (7) He started on well in the game and scored a goal even though he later missed a chance that could have doubled Barcelona lead
L. Suarez: (8) He was in the game throughout and scored the equaliser with a sublime volley. Although he missed some chances, he created problems for Asenjo
M. Malcom: (8) He put in a good spirited display and created the chance for the first goal
L. Messi: (7) He came on with a lot of positivity, although he was a bit silenced by the Villarreal defence. This however didn’t stop him from curling a perfect free-kick pass Asenjo
I. Rakitic: (6) He came on as a substitute and was a bit quiet even though he tried to move the ball forward often
C. Alena: (5) He came on as a substitute and didn’t get to contribute enough to the game