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Villarreal 1-2 Barcelona: 5 Talking points as Antoine Griezmann's quick-fire brace seals win for the visitors | La Liga 2020-21

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Shubham Dupare
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Barcelona recorded a 2-1 win over Villarreal in their La Liga fixture tonight as Antoine Griezmann's first-half brace helped them come back from behind.

After a great first half, the intensity of the game took a hit after the break and following a red card to Manu Trigueros, the outcome of the game was all but sealed.

After scoring six goals and providing three assists in his last four games, Lionel Messi had a quiet night at the office as Griezmann stole the show with two superb goals.

Villarreal had opened the scoring against the run of play when Pau Torres' inch-perfect long ball was met by Samuel Chukwueze's perfectly timed run, who finished from a tight angle after leaving Marc-André ter Stegen on the ground.

Sergio Asenjo met Barcelona's shots on goal bravely with his insanely quick reflexes but Griezmann's exquisite chip finally had him beaten. The satisfying finish, which pulled the visitors level, within 90 seconds, was the highlight of the game.

There's nothing much to say about a relatively dull second half. As Barcelona move level on points with second-placed Real Madrid, here we take a look at the five talking points from the game.


#5 Barcelona display nerves of steel to score twice in quick succession after going behind

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander

Barcelona had a couple of sights on goal in the early stages of the game but were defied by a determined display from Sergio Asenjo. He denied Frenkie de Jong from point-blank range in the 16th minute and kept the scoreline intact.

Samu Chukwueze opened the scoring with an amazing finish, and before the hosts could even finish celebrating their goal, Antoine Griezmann latched onto Óscar Mingueza's through ball and chipped over Asenjo to pull his side back instantly.

The Frenchman got himself on the scoresheet again after Juan Foyth's careless back-pass fell kindly for him. The former Atletico Madrid star made no mistake in finishing off the move and ensured the visitors had a game-changing moment in the first half.


#4 Red card for Manu Trigueros ended Villarreal's hope for a comeback

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander

Manu Trigueros was awarded a straight red card for his challenge on Lionel Messi in the second half. The Spanish midfielder went for the ball but caught the talisman with his studs on his left ankle.

Blaugrana only had to defend their slender lead and hence were not very aggressive in the second half. After the dismissal, they started taking advantage of their numerical superiority and pushed the hosts on the backfoot.

This forced Villarreal to sit back and defend and chances in the final third dried up for them. They only attacked on the counter and rarely threatened a composed Marc-André ter Stegen after the break.


Also See: The 10 highest-paid goalkeepers in the world

#3 Lionel Messi has a lucky escape from a season-threatening injury

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi was caught on the ankle by the studs in the 65th minute by Villareal midfielder Manu Trigueros. The midfielder received a straight red card for his reckless challenge which also left Messi on the ground for a couple of minutes.

Ronald Koeman and his men held their breath as match officials signaled for the medics to come onto the pitch. Luckily the left-footed maestro was up on his feet soon and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

While Messi would go on to play the entire 90 minutes of the game he did not have much of an influence on the outcome as the game ended 2-1, with all three goals being scored in the first half.

Messi has been in incredible form this term and as Barcelona only have the La Liga title to play for at the moment, they can't afford to lose any first-team player, let alone Messi through injury.


#2 Barcelona extend their unbeaten run against Villareal to 26 games

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander

Barcelona have been in incredible form this season and have shifted up a gear in 2021. They have won 46 of the available 51 points since the turn of the year, having dropped points only against Real Madrid (2-1 loss) and Cadiz (1-1 draw).

Tonight, even though they conceded first, the presence of mind displayed by Óscar Mingueza and Griezmann helped them equalize within 90 seconds while they were basically handed the second goal on the plate when Foyth's mistimed back-pass was punished fittingly by Griezmann.

This hard-fought win helped them extend their unbeaten run over the Valencian club, who've not been able to get the better of the Catalan giants since 2008. Barcelona are now on a 26-game unbeaten streak against them, of which they've won 20.


#1 Antoine Griezmann steps up at the right time for Barcelona

Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander
Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander

Barcelona have already won a title this season in the form of the Copa Del Rey against Athletic Bilbao last week. They were eliminated from the Champions League last month and now only have the La Liga title left to play for this term.

The club has been in good goalscoring form this season and have scored 17 goals more than league leaders Atletico Madrid and would be counting on this prolificacy in front of goal to mount a late challenge for the title.

While their dependence on Messi has continued, Griezmann has stepped up in recent games and is hitting form at the right time. Five of his 11 goals this term have come in the last six outings. Barcelona are just two points behind Atletico and with seven games to go, Barca need all the firepower they can get to displace the capital club from the top of the standings.


Also See: 10 highest-paid players in La Liga this season (2020/21)

Edited by Prem Deshpande
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