First Division - Day 12

Villarreal 2 - Barcelona 1

Villarreal: Reina; Belletti, Quique Alvarez, Coloccini, Arruabarrena; Pedro Martí, Josico; Guayre (Javi Venta 93'), Riquelme, José Marí; Sonny Anderson. 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Gabri, Puyol, Cocu, Van Bronckhorst; Márquez (Iniesta 46'); Sergio Santamaría (Overmars 46'), Xavi, Motta (Saviola 69'), Luis García; Kluivert. 4-1-4-1.

Team changes: Villarreal: José Marí for Ballesteros / Barça: Sergio Santamaría, Motta, Kluivert for Quaresma, Ronaldinho, Saviola.

1-0. 40. José Marí. Touched over Valdés after Coloccini headed corner goalwards.
1-1. 72. Kluivert. Following up after Reina pushed out Luis García shot.
2-1. 92. Sonny Anderson. Diving header on near post from Belletti cross.

A last minute goal from Sonny Anderson gave Villarreal a 2-1 victory over Barcelona. It was the Catalans' first game without Ronaldinho, and they were lacking ideas in a first half in which all the shots at goal came from the locals. Only a series of first class saves from Víctor Valdés prevented the home side from going ahead, the under 21 international stopping shots from Sonny Anderson, José Marí and also Riquelme, who was looking to impress against the club which forced him out on loan in the summer.

It was only a matter of time before they scored though, and five minutes before the break José Marí put them in front when he deflected the ball over Valdés with his head (difficult to say whether deliberately or not) after Coloccini powered a header goalwards from a right sided corner.

Rijkaard made a double switch at the break, taking off youngster Sergio Santamaría (deputizing for the injured Quaresma) and Márquez to bring on Iniesta and Overmars. Riquelme was still calling the shots though, and he almost put his side further in front when he hit the post with a direct free kick.

Barça had at least shown some fight after the break though, Arruabarrena having to clear off the line from Luis García, and with twenty minutes to go the manager finally decided to throw Saviola into the equation. It only took him three minutes to make the difference, hooking the ball across for Luis García to thump in a shot, Kluivert sticking home the rebound after Reina could only push it away.

The game swung from end to end after that, with Valdés pushing a speculative shot from Riquelme over the bar and Luis García having a goal ruled out correctly for offside. But with the game going into injury time Belletti broke away down the wing and swept in a low cross which Anderson met with his head on the near post, steering the ball past the keeper and in to the net.

There was no time for Barça to react, and they fell to their first away defeat in the league since the fifth of April, curiously also against the same opponents in the Madrigal stadium. It was a fitting revenge for Anderson and Riquelme, and leaves Villarreal to within two points of their rivals in the league table.