MX23RW : Wednesday, September 26 11:12:29
Apr 27, 2014 at 8pm UK at ​Estadio El Madrigal
Cani (45'), Trigueros (55')
Gaspar (56'), Trigueros (90'), Cani (90')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Paulista (65' og.), Musacchio (79' og.), Messi (83')
Sanchez (50'), Busquets (85'), Alves (90')

Live Commentary: Villarreal 2-3 Barcelona - as it happened

Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the La Liga clash at El Madrigal as Barcelona beat Villarreal 3-2.

Sunday's La Liga clash at El Madrigal pitted Villarreal against current Spanish champions Barcelona.

The home side took a 1-0 lead into the interval following a smart finish from experienced midfielder Cani.

The Yellow Submarine's lead was doubled in the early stages of the second period when Manu Trigueros headed into the back of the net.

Barcelona opened their tally after 65 minutes, however, when Gabriel Paulista could only turn a Dani Alves cross into his own net. Another own goal - this time from Mateo Musacchio - then levelled it up with little over 10 minutes remaining.

Barcelona completed the turnaround in the latter stages when Lionel Messi found the corner from close range on what was an incredible night of football.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.

7.31pmEvening all! Sports Mole's live La Liga coverage continues from El Madrigal as Villarreal welcome Barcelona. The home side still harbour hopes of a European finish this season despite a recent dip in form, while Barcelona need to collect all three points to keep their slim title hopes alive. It promises to be another fascinating affair from Spain's leading division. Right, let me bring you the team news.


VILLARREAL: Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio, Gabriel, Jokic; Bruno, Pina, Trigueros, Cani; Giovani, Perbet

BARCELONA: Pinto; Alves, Mascherano, Bartra, Adriano; Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta; Sanchez, Messi, Pedro

7.37pmSo there we have it. Uche, Javier Aquino and Jonathan Pereira are all left on the bench for Villarreal this evening, with boss Marcelino instead going for a packed midfield. Experienced duo Cani and Bruno both start, while Giovani dos Santos in joined in attack by Jeremy Perbet. Barcelona, meanwhile, leave Cesc Fabregas on the bench, with Lionel Messi once more joined in attack by wide players Pedro and Alexis Sanchez.

7.40pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Barcelona have won four of the last five matches, with the other clash ending in a draw. As mentioned, the reverse match earlier this season ended in a 2-1 Barcelona win, but Villarreal held the Catalan outfit to a goalless draw the last time the pair met in the league – April 2011 - at El Madrigal. Little over 20 minutes until kickoff at El Madrigal this evening.

7.43pmA strong start and middle section to the season led to Villarreal supporters dreaming of an emotional return to the Champions League. Hopes of a top-four finish have faded due to a patchy run of form, but the Yellow Submarine, who lost 2-0 to Malaga last time out, still sit seventh in the table, five points behind sixth-place Real Sociedad, who have played one game more, but they are now 13 points from a Champions League spot.

7.46pmVillarreal's home form this season has been extremely solid, meanwhile, with eight wins from their 17 matches, losing just three times in the process. Only the current top four have lost fewer games on their own patch than Villarreal this season. What's more, neither Real Madrid nor Atletico Madrid managed to leave El Madrigal with all the points in this campaign. It is a tough task for Barcelona make no mistake about it.

7.49pmScoring goals has not been too much of a problem for Villarreal this season, with the former Segunda outfit netting 52 times in the league. Barcelona, meanwhile, are the second-highest scorers in the division behind Real Madrid on 94 goals. Down the other end, Barcelona have the second best defensive record with 28 conceded, but Villarreal have conceded just 40 times – the fifth-best record in La Liga this season.

7.52pmBarcelona overturned a one-goal deficit to beat Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou last time out, but it has been a poor few weeks for the club. As it stands, they are third in the table, one point behind second-place Real Madrid and seven behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who have played one game more. Anything less than three points this evening would surely end their already troubled challenge this season.

7.55pmShould Barca fall out of the title picture, it would leave them facing a trophy-less season. They were knocked out by Atletico Madrid in the quarter-finals of the Champions League earlier this month, before losing the Copa del Rey final to Real Madrid. What's more, four of their five league defeats this season have come on their travels. Such form has led to questions surrounding the long-term future of boss Martino.

7.58pmPREDICTION: It is a really big ask for Barcelona this evening. Villarreal supporters have not seen their side lose too often on their own patch this season, while the Yellow Submarine are still chasing a European position. That said, I am backing the Catalan outfit to just about get over the line. My score prediction for this evening is 3-1 Barcelona, which would just about keep them in the title picture.

0 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first period. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital in this type of match. Right, Villarreal get the action underway following a period of silence in tribute to Tito Vilanova, who lost his battle with cancer on Friday.

2 minA number of the Barcelona players were moved to tears on the pitch in what was an emotional period of silence. The Catalan outfit have made the brighter start to proceedings, meanwhile, with the likes of Iniesta and Xavi seeing possession in the middle of the park. Villarreal have already settled into a shape.

4 minStrong pressure from Barcelona as the away side force two corners in quick succession. Mario is on hand to clear the first, while Jokic is across to clear the second following some nice work between Iniesta and Pedro. The home side attempt to break with Giovani, but Pinto is across to claim at the vital moment.

6 minPlenty happening in the middle of the park at the moment as the challenges continue to arrive from both sides. It is all very narrow for Barcelona, meanwhile, with Iniesta trying to dance between two Villarreal defenders. It must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium this evening.

8 minHalf-chance for the away side as Alves attempts to find Messi with a dangerous cross from the right, but Mario is on hand to clear. The Barcelona right-back is down the same side moments later before finding Xavi, but the Spaniard cannot slide a low pass towards Messi. Villarreal cannot get out at the minute.

9 minOpportunity for Barcelona to threaten from a free kick as Bruno brings Iniesta to the ground just outside the box. The resulting set piece is taken by Xavi, but his effort is straight into the arms of Asenjo.

11 minNot too much to report in terms of clear opportunities in the last couple of moments, but Villarreal have started to force numbers into the final third. Pina combines with Giovani before crossing into the area, but Adriano is across on the cover. Still goalless, but plenty of attacking intent from both sides thus far.

13 minAnother half-chance for the away side as Sanchez finds some space inside the Villarreal box before delivering towards the near post, but Musacchio is on hand to make the clearance. Just a few signs that Barcelona are starting to warm to their task, but their is a stoppage in play following an injury to Perbet.

14 min

15 minSUB! Bad news for Villarreal as the home side are forced to make a change in the early stages. Perbet's knock forces the Frenchman to leave the field, with Jonathan Pereira his replacement.

17 minAnother half-chance for Barcelona as Alves finds some space outside the box before attempting to drive one into the top corner, but his effort was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. Not too much in terms of Villarreal chances thus far, but the home side have restricted Barcelona to very little thus far.

19 minCHANCES! Wonderful chance for Barcelona to open the scoring as Messi dances into the Villarreal box before attempting to find the bottom corner, but Asenjo is on hand to make the save. The home side are down the other end with Bruno moments later, but his effort is wide of Pinto's post.

21 minAnother stoppage in play as Villarreal defender Musacchio takes the ball flush in the face following a powerful strike from Pedro, but the centre-back is deemed fit to continue following a period on the ground. Barcelona continue to dominate possession of the ball, meanwhile, with Messi more and more involved.

23 minSight of goal for Barcelona as Iniesta strikes one from outside the box, but his effort is just wide of the post. Villarreal are down the other end with Cani, who attempts to slide a pass towards Pereira, but Bartra is across to clear at the vital moment. Little over 20 minutes of the first period remaining at El Madrigal.

25 minCHANCE! Villarreal's best chance comes to Pereira following a low cross from Cani, but his effort deflects off Giovani before bouncing over the crossbar. Clear sight of goal for the Spaniard.

28 minHalf-chance for Barcelona this time as Sanchez carries possession into the Villarreal box before finding Alves, who delivers towards Pedro, but Messi is in an offside position once more. Villarreal attempt to break with Bruno, but the match has become very untidy due to a number of late challenges in the middle of the park.

30 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for the home side as Cani delivers a brilliant cross from the left towards Giovani, but the Mexican cannot make the vital touch. Let-off for Barcelona, who have not looked convincing in defensive areas. Still goalless, but chances at either end with 15 minutes of the half to play.

32 minShort, sharp passing from Barcelona as they continue to pass and probe outside the Villarreal box, but the home side continue to defend the threat. Sanchez is down the right before delivering towards Messi, but Mario is on hand to make the clearance once more. The Yellow Submarine have defended well thus far.

34 minNot too much of an atmosphere inside the stadium at the moment, which is reflecting matters on the field. Barcelona remain in control of the ball, but Villarreal are a threat on the counter with the pace and movement of Pereira and Giovani. The latter threatens to run behind the Barcelona defence following a through pass from Trigueros, but Bartra is across on the cover and the danger is cleared at the vital moment.

35 minSUB! Villarreal are forced into their second change of the match as Aquino enters the field in place of Pina, who also appears to have picked up an injury. Two subs down, just one remaining.

38 minIt is almost like a training match at the moment as Barcelona continue to dominate the ball in forward areas, but without really threatening Asenjo in the Villarreal goal. Bright work from Pedro forces another corner, which is delivered into the box by Xavi, but Mario is on hand to clear as the score remains goalless.

41 minVillarreal continue to make life difficult for the Spanish champions with two banks of four spread across the pitch. Barcelona work the ball from left to right and then back before Sanchez finds Messi, but the Argentine has three defenders on his back. Still goalless, which is a reflection of what we have seen thus far.

43 minCHANCES! Opportunity for Barcelona as Sanchez drives down the right before finding Xavi inside the Villarreal box, but Mario is on hand to make a fine challenge. Pereira is down the other end moments later, but there are no takers on his low cross, which had deceived Pinto and Bartra.

45 minCHANCE! Incredible chance for the home side as Giovani drives into the Barcelona box before rolling a low cross to Aquino, who had an open goal. However, the Mexican did not have enough power on his strike and Bartra was across to make the block. What a terrific piece of defending from the centre-back.

45 min+1GOAL! Villarreal 1-0 Barcelona (Cani)

45 min+2Villarreal open the scoring in first-half stoppage time as Cani meets a through pass from Pereira before finishing into the bottom corner. Barcelona's title hopes are in trouble once more.

45 min+2HALF-TIME: Villarreal 1-0 Barcelona

8.47pmSo there we have it. Cani's strike moments before the interval leaves Villarreal with a 1-0 lead at the interval. Moments before, Aquino had a golden chance, but Bartra cleared off the line. Barcelona have had plenty of the ball thus far, but have struggled to create clear opportunities at El Madrigal.

8.52pmSTATISTICS: Barcelona have utterly dominated possession with 75%, while they have had eight attempts - two of which have been on target. Villarreal, however, have had just three attempts, but the only statistic that mattes sees them lead at the break. Can Barcelona respond in the second 45 minutes?

8.57pmBENCH WATCH: Villarreal have already been forced into two changes this evening through injury, with Aquino and Pereira entering in place of Perbet and Pina. However, the Yellow Submarine still have options in the shape of Uche and Oliver Torres. Barcelona, meanwhile, are not short of quality on their bench, with the likes of Fabregas, Afellay and Tello all available for Martino in the second period.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the field for the second period. As it stands, Barcelona are seven points behind La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid with just three games remaining. Villarreal, meanwhile, would close the gap on sixth-place Real Sociedad to just two points with victory this evening. Right, the away side get the second 45 minutes underway. It could prove to be the biggest half of Barcelona's season.

48 minNo changes for either side at the interval, which is not too much of a surprise at this stage of proceedings. Villarreal have just one permitted sub remaining, while Martino does not usually make changes until the hour mark. Positive start to the half from Barcelona in terms of possession, but Mario sniffs out a cross from Alves, before Giovani attempts to release Pereira down the other end.

50 minEnd-to-end football in the last couple of moments as another Barcelona attack breaks down with Pedro, before Villarreal look down the other end with Giovani, who is found in an offside position. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital in terms of the final result.

51 minBOOKING! Sanchez is booked for Barcelona after lashing out at Asenjo, who had challenged the Chilean following a poor back-pass from Aquino. Tensions are running high at El Madrigal.

53 minCHANCE! Messi bursts into life for the away side with a mazy run before attempting to bend one into the far corner, but Asenjo is on hand to make a fine save. The pressure is building from Barca.

54 minOpportunity for Barcelona to threaten from a free kick as Aquino brings Sanchez to the ground outside the box. The resulting set piece is taken on by Messi, but Asenjo dives across his goal to make the save.

55 minGOAL! Villarreal 2-0 Barcelona (Trigueros)

56 minWow, just wow. Villarreal score their second of the evening as Trigueros arrives unmarked inside the Barcelona box before heading an Aquino cross into the back of the net. Serious trouble for Barcelona.

57 minBOOKING! Mario has his name taken for Villarreal after pulling Messi to the ground. Barcelona have a free kick just outside the box. The Catalan outfit need something special here.

58 minMessi takes the resulting set piece, but once more Asenjo is across to make the save. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining and realistically Barcelona need to score three times to remain in the title race.

61 minIt just is not happening for Barcelona in the final third as another attack breaks down in a wide position. Pedro attempts to work it inside towards Xavi, but there are four yellow shirts around the midfielder. It would not be a surprise to see Martino make a couple of changes in the next few minutes.

62 minCHANCE! Barcelona come close to opening their tally as Iniesta finds some space outside the box before curling one towards the bottom corner, but his effort just moves wide of the post.

62 minSUBS! Double change for Barcelona as Tello and Fabregas replace Sanchez and Xavi.

64 minAnother half-chance for the away side as Pedro drives into the Villarreal box before attempting to roll a low cross into the area, but Jokic is across to make a stunning challenge at the vital moment. The pressure continues with Messi, but Mario is across to clear. Still 2-0 Villarreal with little over 25 to play.

65 minGOAL! Villarreal 2-1 Barcelona (Gabriel OG)

66 minBarcelona are back in the match as Gabriel turns into his own net following a low cross from Alves. Well, that has changed the atmosphere inside the stadium. Can Barcelona complete the turnaround?

69 minPlenty of time for Barcelona to turn this match around and the Spanish champions are really forcing the issue at the moment. Pedro drives past Jokic this time before delivering a cross towards Messi, but Mario is on hand to clear. It comes straight back, however, with Giovani unable to retain possession of the ball.

71 minAnother half-chance for the away side as Busquets regains possession on the edge of the box before sliding a pass to Fabregas, but his effort is blocked by Mario. Villarreal just cannot keep the ball at the moment, however, as the pressure comes straight back. Little under 20 minutes of football remaining at El Madrigal.

73 minIn truth, a draw is not good enough for Barcelona this evening. If the Catalan outfit want to remain in the title race, then they need to pick up all three points. Still plenty of time for that to occur, but Villarreal have just managed to quell some of the pressure with a period of solid possession.

75 minPlenty of crosses continue to arrive from Barcelona, but Villarreal have been solid defensively for much of the evening. More valuable time is wasted down the other end as Cani is felled by Mascherano. The resulting free kick is delivered towards the Barcelona box, but the danger is cleared and Barca build once more.

78 minNot too much in terms of attacking pressure from Villarreal, with their passing not quite as sharp in the last 10 minutes or so. They have started to drop into a defensive shape, which is allowing Barcelona to keep the pressure on. Little over 10 minutes to play and Barcelona force another corner down the right.

78 minVillarreal just cannot keep the ball at the moment as another loose pass from Giovani hands possession straight back to the champions. Barcelona continue to pass and probe outside the box with Messi more and more involved, but there is no room in which to work.

78 minGOAL! Villarreal 2-2 Barcelona (Musacchio OG)

79 minOh my word. Barcelona equalise and it is another own goal from Villarreal. Alves delivers a dangerous cross towards the back post and Musacchio thumps a header past his own goalkeeper. What a turn up!

81 minBarcelona were down and out at 2-0, but they are now right back in this match. Villarreal just cannot make their mark at the moment as the Catalan outfit have another free kick just outside the box, with Musacchio bringing Messi to the ground. If ever there was a time for Messi to step forward...

82 minCLOSE! Messi does indeed take the resulting set piece, but Asenjo dives across his goal to make a fine save. It looks like there is another goal in this match. It would not be a surprise.

83 minGOAL! Villarreal 2-3 Barcelona (Messi)

84 minAnd the turnaround is complete as Messi thumps one into the bottom corner following smart work from Busquets inside the box. Silence inside El Madrigal. What an incredible evening of football.

85 minBOOKING! Busquets is booked for Barcelona. Villarreal might have a penalty here?!

85 minIt is a free kick just outside the box rather than a penalty as Busquets fells Aquino. It is all happening here! The set piece is delivered by Trigueros, but Adriano is on hand to clear the danger.

87 minVillarreal continue to throw high balls into the Barcelona box, with Pinto not looking to convincing when coming to clear. Little over three minutes of normal time remaining. Is there to be more late drama?

89 minHow much have Villarreal got left in the tank? The answer is not too much as Barcelona continue to work the ball from left to right. It is almost as if El Madrigal has been shocked into silence by this comeback.

90 minBOOKING! Trigueros enters the book for Villarreal following a late challenge on Alves.

90 minSUB! Barcelona make their third and final change as Roberto replaces Pedro.

90 min+3The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes and we are indeed into the third of those. Barcelona have possession as whistles ring around the stadium. They are almost there.

90 min+3FULL-TIME: Villarreal 2-3 Barcelona

9.50pmWow - what an evening at El Madrigal. Barcelona come from 2-0 down against Villarreal to collect all the points and keep themselves in the title picture. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to stick around the site for reaction. Until next time!

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Barcelona head coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino looks on during the Champions League quarter final match against Atletico Madrid on April 9, 2014
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