Full Time: Barcelona 4-1 Villarreal
Barcelona romped home to a 4-1 win over Villarreal in the La Liga at the Camp Nou on Saturday, to keep their noses ahead in the title race.
The Catalans took the lead in the 21st minute after Neymar bundled home from a deflected Lionel Messi shot. But the visitors would bounce back through Cedric Bakambu’s strike eleven minutes later. Barcelona, however, went into the break with a lead after Messi did brilliantly to restore their advantage on the stroke of half-time. Luis Suarez, then put the game to bed in the 69th minute with a neat finish, before Messi doubled his tally with a calmly taken penalty in the 82nd minute to make it four.
The win means Barcelona go clear three points of second-placed Real Madrid at the top at least temporarily, with the Galacticos set to play later in the night. Here is how the Barcelona players fared on the night:
Barcelona Player Ratings
Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 5/10
Gave the ball away after coming out and made a similar error late in the game. Not the most assured of displays from the German.
Sergi Roberto – 7/10
Booked early in the game, but kept his discipline. Ran up and down the right-hand side, and set Suarez’s goal in the second period.
Gerard Pique – 6/10
Was left for dead in his tracks by the pace of Bakambu for the opener. Found it hard to deal with the Villarreal forward.
Samuel Umtiti – 7/10
Once again, Barcelona’s best defender. Strong in all aspects, the Frenchman is really enjoying a stellar debut season at the Camp Nou.
Lucas Digne – 6/10
Surprise inclusion in the line-up ahead of Jordi Alba, the Frenchman hadn’t played in long and the rustiness showed. Did look menacing on a couple of occasions, before being subbed off.
Ivan Rakitic – 6/10
Worked his socks off in the middle of the park. Could not contribute a great deal in attack, but kept things tight.
Sergio Busquets – 6/10
Gave away possession once in a dangerous area, but the Yellow Submarine failed to punish Barcelona. Improved over the second period.
Andres Iniesta – 6/10
Not the midfield maestro’s best game, as he struggled to exploit the gaps in a narrow Villarreal midfield. Booked late on for a poor challenge.
Lionel Messi – 8/10
Not at his best, but still managed to have a huge impact on the game. Gave the all-important lead heading into half-time, before chipping home a calm penalty late in the game.
Luis Suarez – 7/10
A quiet night for the Uruguayan international as he lacked the service, until he managed to find the back of the net in the second period to make it 3-1.
Neymar – 9/10
Showed great awareness to turn in Messi’s deflected shot into the net to open the scoring. A real menace down the left-hand side with his trickery. Mesmerized the defenders with his array of skills, played a role in winning the penalty.
Jordi Alba – NA
Replaced Digne for the final fifteen minutes.
Javier Mascherano – NA
Came on for Roberto in the 78th minute.
Andre Gomes – NA
Came on to replace Rakitic with less than ten minutes left to play.