Dec 10, 2017 at 7.45pm UK at ​Estadio de la Cerámica (Villarreal)
Villarreal
0-2
Barcelona

Bakambu (61'), Alvaro (86')
Raba (60')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Suarez (72'), Messi (83')
Busquets (45')

Result: Barcelona overcome 10-man Villarreal

Result: Barcelona overcome 10-man Villarreal
© SilverHub
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi score the goals as Barcelona record a 2-0 win at 10-man Villarreal on Sunday night.

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi scored the goals as Barcelona recorded a 2-0 win at 10-man Villarreal on Sunday night.

Villarreal frustrated Barcelona for long spells, but a red card for Dani Raba in the 60th minute turned the match, and efforts from Suarez and Messi ensured that Ernesto Valverde's side would move five points clear at the top of La Liga.

Barca boss Valverde made six changes to the team that started against Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League during the week.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets and Paulinho all came back in, as did Messi, who was joined by Luis Suarez and Denis Suarez in the final third of the field.

Villarreal's team, meanwhile, showed five changes from the one that started the 3-1 defeat at Leganes last weekend. Injury-hit goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo made his La Liga return between the sticks, while Jaume Costa and Victor Ruiz returned at the back.

Roberto Soriano and Ruben Semedo were given spots in midfield, and Dani Raba was tasked with supporting Cedric Bakambu in the final third.

Barcelona came close to making the breakthrough inside the first four minutes when Gerard Pique rose highest to meet a corner from the left, but his header hit the woodwork.

Villarreal had plenty of the ball in the early stages, although the Yellow Submarine were finding it difficult to create opportunities against the joint-best defence in the league.

Soriano had the home side's first opportunity in the 16th minute, but the attacker found Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen in good form, before Asenjo kept out a Messi free kick down the other end of the field.

Barcelona were struggling to create clear opportunities, however, and a Denis Suarez effort which sailed harmlessly over the crossbar summed up what was a largely uneventful first 45 minutes.

Soriano sent another long-range effort wide of the away side's post in the latter stages of the half, before Messi just missed the post with a strike from inside the Villarreal box as the pair went down the tunnel at 0-0.

Paco Alcacer replaced Denis Suarez just before the hour as Barcelona looked for some inspiration, and the Spaniard forced Asenjo into a smart save little over 20 seconds after entering the field. Messi then sent a cross from Alba just wide of the post as Barcelona started to force the issue.

Villarreal were reduced to 10 men on the hour when Raba was handed a straight red card for a studs-up challenge on Busquets. The hosts were incensed with the call, but it was a poor challenge from the 22-year-old.

Alba set up another Messi chance in the 70th minute after breaking down the left, but the Argentine just missed the post as Villarreal continued to come under pressure.

Barcelona eventually made the breakthrough in the 72nd minute when Luis Suarez collected a clever pass from Alcacer before rounding Asenjo and finishing into the back of the net.

Manu Trigueros tested Ter Stegen with a decent strike 15 minutes from time, but Barcelona were having the bulk of the chances, and Luis Suarez just missed the post from a Messi pass in the 80th minute.

Barcelona made sure of the points in the 83rd minute, however, with Messi converting from close range after Busquets had intercepted a poor Ruiz pass in a dangerous position.

Valverde's side have moved five points clear of second-placed Valencia at the summit, while they are once again eight points clear of the reigning champions Real Madrid, who stay down in fourth.

Villarreal (4-4-2): Asenjo; Mario, Alvaro, Ruiz, Costa; Soriano (Rukavina 64'), Rodrigo, Semedo (Castillejo 48'), Trigueros; Raba (red card 60'), Bakambu

Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Vermaelen, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets (Gomes 86'), Paulinho (Vidal 68'); Messi, Suarez, Denis (Alcacer 58')

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique speaks to the media on December 5, 2016
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona2017305794854
2Atletico MadridAtletico2012712992043
3Valencia20124441212040
4Real Madrid19105439182135
5Villarreal2010462822634
6Sevilla2010282628-232
7Celta Vigo208483528728
8EibarEibar208482532-728
9GironaGirona207672929027
10Real Betis208393341-827
11Getafe207672520527
12Athletic Bilbao206862322126
13Leganes197481719-225
14Espanyol206681625-924
15Real Sociedad206593436-223
16AlavesAlaves2061131629-1319
17Levante203981628-1218
18Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo2044122244-2216
19Las PalmasLas Palmas2042141647-3114
20Malaga2033141434-2012
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