Messi and Suarez's magic deny Villarreal at the death
Deep into stoppage time, Suarez netted what could potentially mean the league title for Barcelona, securing a 4-4 draw against Villarreal in what was one of the games of the season.
After Atletico beat Girona for the first time in La Liga Santander, Barcelona knew they had to get something out of the Estadio de la Ceramicá of Villarreal. Valverde took quite the bold move to start Malcom, Coutinho and Suarez while resting Messi and Pique notably due to the upcoming clashes with Atletico Madrid and Manchester United.
The so-called ‘yellow submarine’, irked after a 3-2 defeat to relegation rivals Celta Vigo, had to be at their best in order to bring the fight to the league leaders. It started well enough for the Blaugrana with Malcom setting up Coutinho for the first and nodding home the second in quick succession to make it 2-0 in almost 16 minutes.
However, things took a turn in the 23rd minute when against the run of play, Samuel Chukwueze pulled one back against the run of play. The half ended 2-1 to Barcelona with Villareal being the happier of the two teams. As soon as the second half started, Villareal seemed to have issued a statement of intent and absolutely dominated the game and equalising in the 50th minute through a very cheeky finish by Karl Toko Ekambi and eventually gaining the lead in the 62nd minute through Vicente Iborra, a mere minute after Messi was subbed on to try and solve things for Barca.
The Blaugrana looked hopeless at the back as Lenglet was strangely out of sorts and Umtiti seemingly not fit enough to play. Such suspicion at the back eventually led to the fourth goal through the substitute Carlos Bacca who was put on a plate by the former Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla, in the 80th minute to make it 4-2. A point looked very much out of reach for Barcelona as they struggled to take shots on goal throughout the entirety of the second half however in the 86th minute, Alvaro Gonzalez was sent off for a second bookable offence giving Barca some hope.
Around the 89th minute, Messi was fouled just outside the box and with his immaculate free-kick form, he scored to make it 4-3 making it 3 free-kick goals in his last 3 appearances. Some may recall what happened in 2017, when the same very thing had happened against Villarreal in the 89th minute. In the aftermath of the goal, Barca pushed on throughout the whole 3 minutes of added time and eventually won a corner in the end. Messi crossed it in leaving the defenders to head it out only to Luis Suarez who pulled off a wonderful half volleyed shot in the bottom corner to equalise at the death.
Talking points: Barcelona: Champions elect? One has to point out Barcelona's fighting spirit and Messi's influence which led to them being 8 points clear at the top.
Luis Suarez stat: Luis Suarez is now the Uruguayan top scorer in La liga with 129 goals surpassing Diego Forlan.
Man of the Match: Samuel Chukwueze