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First Division - Day 21

Barcelona 3 - Villarreal 2

Barcelona: Bravo; Dani Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Rafinha (Rakitic 88’), Busquets (Mathieu 71’), Iniesta; Messi, Luis Suárez (Pedro 79‘), Neymar. 4-3-3.
Villarreal: Sergio Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, Musacchio, Víctor Ruíz, Jaume Costa; Jonathan Dos Santos (Moi Gómez 85‘), Tomás Pina (Manu Trigueros 76‘), Bruno, Cheryshev; Vietto, Giovani (Uche 89‘). 4-4-2.

0-1. 30. Cheryshev. Stuck out foot to deflect wayward Mario shot past Bravo.
1-1. 45. Neymar. Drove ball back into net after Asenjo pushed out Rafinha shot.
1-2. 51. Vietto. Turned ball in from close up after good run down right by Giovani.
2-2. 53. Rafinha. Following up after Luis Suárez shot and Messi header blocked.
2-3. 55. Messi. Picked up short Luis Suárez pass and curled shot past Asenjo.

Yellow cards: Víctor Ruíz 18’, Bruno 23’, Jonathan Dos Santos 41’, Rafinha 63’.

Barcelona stay a point behind Real Madrid pending their rescheduled match next Wednesday after coming from behind twice to beat Villarreal 3-2 on Sunday night. Luis Enrique’s side came into the game on the back of seven straight wins in all competitions, and they had the better of the opening minutes, with Luis Suárez in particular failing to convert two or three chances. The visitors themselves had been unbeaten in 18 games though, and they took the lead on the half hour mark when Cheryshev deflected Mario’s shot past Bravo. Neymar levelled it on the stroke of half time after Sergio Asenjo could only push out Rafinha’s shot, but Vietto restored the lead after Giovani took advantage of a slip by Piqué to run on and set him up some six minutes in to the second half. Once again Barça came back quickly though, Rafinha equalizing again just two minutes later after Messi’s header was blocked, and Messi himself connecting with a Luis Suárez pass to curl a shot a shot past Asenjo two minutes after that. Víctor Ruíz had a strike ruled out for offside after that, and Neymar had a good penalty appeal turned down, but the locals edged it in the end, and the two teams have it all to do again in ten days time when they meet in the semi-finals of the cup.