Spanish La Liga
Villarreal2Barcelona2

Villarreal 2-2 Barcelona

Barcelona held at Villarreal
Lionel Messi trudges off as the Villarreal players celebrate after Jeremy Mathieu scored Barcelona's first own goal of the season

Barcelona stretched their La Liga lead to nine points, despite throwing away a two-goal advantage at Villarreal.

Barca moved ahead when Ivan Rakitic fired a low shot past several home defenders, pouncing on a loose ball after Lionel Messi's free-kick.

Neymar calmly converted a controversial penalty after he was adjudged to be fouled by home keeper Sergio Asenjo.

But fourth-placed Villarreal fought back through Cedric Bakambu's neat finish and Jeremy Mathieu's own goal.

Relive all the drama from El Madrigal

Barca, who saw nearest rivals Atletico Madrid suffer a shock loss at Sporting Gijon on Saturday, had to settle for a point as they extended their Spanish record unbeaten run to 39 matches in all competitions.

The Catalan side are 10 points ahead of third-placed Real Madrid, who thrashed Sevilla 4-0 later on Sunday.

Barcelona held at Villarreal

Villarreal look unlikely to pip Madrid to an automatic Champions League place, but are well equipped to reach the competition's qualifying round after a deserved point against the reigning champions.

They are 12 points adrift of Zinedine Zidane's side, but have a six-point cushion over fifth-placed Celta Vigo.

Both home goals came after Barca boss Luis Enrique reshuffled his defence with the introduction of Mathieu, who replaced the booked Gerard Pique, and right-back Dani Alves.

The visitors appeared vulnerable to further punishment, but regained their composure to see out the final half hour.

However, there were few chances for either side to nick an action-packed game, which saw referee Jose Sanchez infuriate the home crowd with a series of bizarre decisions.

Barcelona held at Villarreal
Villarreal thought keeper Sergio Asenjo, who only returned from an 11-month injury lay-off on Thursday, won the ball when Neymar was awarded a penalty

'Positive result for Barca'

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique:

"The best teams in the league have lost here, we've drawn. We were close to winning, but also could have lost.

"It is a positive round of fixtures for us. One less to go and one point closer to our objectives.

"It is a positive result for us."

Line-ups

Villarreal

  • 1AsenjoBooked at 40mins
  • 2Pérez MartínezBooked at 84mins
  • 24Bailly
  • 6RuizBooked at 41mins
  • 22RukavinaBooked at 43mins
  • 18D SuárezSubstituted forPinaat 74'minutesBooked at 78mins
  • 14Trigueros MuñozBooked at 85mins
  • 21BrunoBooked at 24mins
  • 19Castillejo Azuaga
  • 9SoldadoBooked at 20minsSubstituted forCarrilho Baptistaoat 83'minutes
  • 17BakambuSubstituted forLópez Álvarezat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Pina
  • 10Carrilho Baptistao
  • 20López Álvarez
  • 23Bonera
  • 25Barbosa
  • 27Marín Gómez
  • 28Pedraza Sag

Barcelona

  • 13Bravo
  • 20Roberto Carnicer
  • 3PiquéBooked at 16minsSubstituted forMathieuat 55'minutes
  • 14MascheranoBooked at 90mins
  • 18AlbaBooked at 53mins
  • 4Rakitic
  • 5Busquets
  • 7TuranBooked at 13minsSubstituted forAlves da Silvaat 57'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 9Suárez
  • 11Neymar

Substitutes

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 6Alves da Silva
  • 15Bartra
  • 17El Haddadi
  • 21Correia
  • 22Vidal Parreu
  • 24Mathieu
Referee:
José María Sánchez Martínez
Attendance:
23,450

Match Stats

Home TeamVillarrealAway TeamBarcelona
Possession
Home32%
Away68%
Shots
Home14
Away15
Shots on Target
Home6
Away6
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home17
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Villarreal 2, Barcelona 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Villarreal 2, Barcelona 2.

Attempt missed. Manu Trigueros (Villarreal) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner following a set piece situation.

Booking

Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Hand ball by Javier Mascherano (Barcelona).

Attempt blocked. Bruno (Villarreal) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Jeremy Mathieu (Barcelona) with an attempt from very close range misses to the left. Assisted by Lionel Messi with a cross following a set piece situation.

Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Eric Bailly (Villarreal).

Offside, Barcelona. Luis Suárez tries a through ball, but Neymar is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Barcelona) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Javier Mascherano with a cross.

Hand ball by Samu Castillejo (Villarreal).

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Eric Bailly (Villarreal).

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Víctor Ruiz (Villarreal).

Attempt saved. Dani Alves (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Booking

Manu Trigueros (Villarreal) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

Hand ball by Manu Trigueros (Villarreal).

Booking

Mario (Villarreal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Mario (Villarreal).

Substitution

Substitution, Villarreal. Leo Baptistao replaces Roberto Soldado.

Attempt missed. Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right.

Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Manu Trigueros (Villarreal).

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Roberto Soldado.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Víctor Ruiz.

Booking

Tomás Pina (Villarreal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Tomás Pina (Villarreal).

Substitution

Substitution, Villarreal. Tomás Pina replaces Denis Suárez because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Manu Trigueros (Villarreal) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Sergio Asenjo (Villarreal) because of an injury.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Sergio Asenjo.

Attempt saved. Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lionel Messi with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Villarreal. Adrián replaces Cédric Bakambu because of an injury.

Sergi Roberto (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Eric Bailly (Villarreal).

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona30244286246276
2Atl Madrid30214546143267
3Real Madrid30206487285966
4Villarreal30159637251254
5Celta Vigo30146104351-848
6Sevilla3013984335848
7Ath Bilbao30145114839947
8Malaga30109112928139
9Eibar30108124242038
10Dep La Coruña3071583943-436
11Real Sociedad3098133741-435
12Espanyol30105153156-2535
13Real Betis30810122740-1334
14Valencia30810123336-334
15Las Palmas3096153242-1033
16Rayo Vallecano30610144163-2228
17Granada3077163256-2428
18Getafe3077162852-2428
19Sporting Gijón3076173252-2027
20Levante3066182854-2624
View full Spanish La Liga table

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