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First Division - Day 35

Villarreal 2 - Barcelona 3

Villarreal: Sergio Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio, Gabriel, Jokic; Manu Trigueros, Bruno, Cani, Tomás Pina (Javier Aquino 35’); Giovani (Uche 82’), Perbet (Jonathan Pereira 13‘). 4-4-2.
Barcelona: Pinto; Dani Alves, Marc Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi Cesc (Fàbregas 61‘), Busquets, Iniesta; Alexis (Tello 61’), Messi, Pedro (Sergi Roberto 89’). 4-3-3.

1-0. 45. Cani. Connected with Jonathan Pereira pass to steer shot wide of Pinto.
2-0. 55. Manu Trigueros. Steered long header wide of keeper from Aquino cross.
2-1. 65. Gabriel (own goal). Turned ball in to own net trying to clear Alves cross.
2-2. 78. Musacchio (own goal). Headed Dani Alves cross past his own keeper.
2-3. 83. Messi. Volleyed shot past Asenjo after Cesc headed over Busquets pass.

Yellow cards: Alexis 49’, Mario 55’, Busquets 85’, Manu Trigueros 88’, Cani 89’, Dani Alves 90’.

Barcelona stay within four points of leaders Atlético Madrid after they came from two goals down to win 2-3 at Villarreal. As in all grounds this weekend, there was an emotive minute’s silence in memory of their ex coach Tito Vilanova, who sadly died of cancer at the age of only 45 just a couple of days ago. As usual Barça had the majority of possession, Messi bringing a good save out of Sergio Asenjo early on. But the locals were looking dangerous on the counter-attack, Bartra having to clear off the line from Aquino (one of two early substitutes due to injuries to Perbet and Pina), and Cani opening the scoring after running on to a through ball from the other substitute Pereira on the stroke of half time. Asenjo had to save from Messi a couple of times after the restart, but some ten minutes in to the second half Manu Trigueros put the locals further in front with a well directed header past Pinto from Aquino’s cross. Asenjo kept out a Messi free kick and Iniesta shot just wide, but disaster struck for Marcelino’s side when Gabriel and then Musacchio put though their own net, both times from Dani Alves crosses. Asenjo kept out another Messi free kick soon afterwards, with seven minutes to go Messi finally beat the keeper after Fàbregas headed across a chipped pass from Busquets. There was a late scare for the visitors when referee Fernández Borbalán seemed to award a penalty for a foul by Busquets on Aquino, only for him to eventually give a free kick on the edge of the area, but they held on to dedicate the win to Tito. A painful defeat for the locals, but with Valencia losing as well they are still on track for the third Europa League spot.