FC Barcelona 3-5 Villarreal: Painful defeat

FC Barcelona 3-5 Villarreal: Painful defeat

Barça come back from two goals down to take the lead but late strikes from the visitors put an end to the revival

Football came back to Montjuïc for the first time in 2024 but not in the way that Barça and the culers would have wanted. Marcelino’s Villarreal inflicted a third home defeat on the blaugranes in La Liga in a topsy-turvy game that saw the visitors score twice deep into injury time to take all three points.  

Goals from Gundogan, Pedri and an own goal from Eric Bailly saw the blaugranes comeback from two goals down after Gerard Moreno and the former blaugrana Ilias had put the visitors ahead. Chances to extend the lead came and went and Xavi’s team paid dearly as Guedes equaliser before goals from Sorloth in the 99th minute and Morales in the 102nd deepened the misery.  

Barça behind at half time

Coach Xavi Hernández had made three changes to the side that lost against Athletic with Oriol Romeu, Héctor Fort and João Félix coming into the side. A scrappy first half saw the visitors have the ball in the back of the net after just three minutes. However, fortunately for the blaugranes Baena was in an offside position before finding the net.

When Barça attacked it was Lamine Yamal who looked most dangerous for Xavi’s side. The teenager tested Villarreal keeper Jorgensen with an early effort before the Danish keeper made an even better save to tip João Félix’s deflected shot over the bar.  

Half-way through the first half Villarreal had the ball in the back of the net again but once more it was disallowed. Gerard Moreno finished well after indecision in the Barça box but Sorloth was adjudged to have been offside and interfering with play just prior to the goal.  

Unfortunately for Barça, the visitors had the ball in the back of the net a third time in the half and this one did count. A simple throw in saw Sorloth turn and whip in a cross for Gerard Moreno to finish smartly at the near post leaving Iñaki Peña with no chance.

Changes for the second half  

Coach Xavi decided to ring the changes at half time with Pedri, Cancelo and Cubarsí on for Oriol Romeu, Héctor Fort and Christensen. Barça looked to have more zip to their passing in the opening minutes of the second half and a cross from Lamine almost found João Félix sliding in at the far post. 

Just when the blaugranes seemed to be improving, Xavi’s team conceded a second. Former blaugrana Ilias Akhomach coolly rounded Iñaki Peña on 54 minutes after a misjudgement from Cancelo left him one on one with the keeper.  

Two goals down, Barça needed a goal quickly to get back into the game and Ilkay Gundogan provided just that on the hour mark. The German international watched the ball carefully as it came off Lewandowski’s heel and placed a perfect finish into the bottom left hand corner of the net.  

With their tails up, Barça began to dominate and eight minutes after Gundogan’s goal they were level. Lamine Yamal provoked panic down the right flank and the ball fell to Pedri just inside the box and his deflected shot beat Jorgensen low at the near post.  

Momentum with the blaugranes 

With the 46,229 fans inside the stadium now in full voice and the momentum of the shifted in Barça’s favour it was only a question of time before the blaugranes were in front.  

On 71 minutes a free kick whipped in from the left hand saw Araujo attack the ball and it ended up i the back of the net via the arm of Villarreal defender Bailly.  

Painful final minutes 

Barça seemed set for victory with substitute Vitor Roque coming close to opening his Barça account only to be denied by keeper Jorgensen. Villarreal were hanging on but via a quick counter Guedes found space and fired in an unstoppable shot with six minutes remaining. 

The blaugranes then had a penalty reversed via VAR after an apparent handball in the Villarreal box. In injury time with Xavi’s team chasing the winner first Sorloth and then Morales took advantage of spaces in behind the blaugrana defence to mark a painful return to the Estadi Olímpic in 2024.  



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