Sweet madness in the Spanish Championship! Leading 2-0 and leading 4-2, the Barcelona leader ripped Tuesday an unbelievable 4-4 draw at Villarreal thanks to Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, leaving his dolphin and next opponent, Atlético Madrid, close the gap by beating Girona (2-0).
Presenting a revamped eleven for the 30th day of La Liga, Barça thought they spent a quiet evening at the Ceramic Stadium thanks to the Brazilians Philippe Coutinho (12th) and Malcom (16th).
The poorly-placed Villarreal nevertheless equalized by Samuel Chukwueze (23rd) and Karl Toko-Ekambi (49th) before taking the lead by Vicente Iborra (62nd) then Carlos Bacca (80th). And when the defender of the “yellow submarine” Alvaro was excluded (86th), Messi, launched on the hour of play, reduced the score on free kick (90th), is his 32nd goal of the season in La Liga, before a powerful and saving shot of Suarez (90 + 3).
“I have the feeling that this match should help us before our next events,” said Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde. “It shows the whole environment of the club that La Liga is still long.”
In the standings, the club Blaugrana remains in the lead (1st, 70 pts) even if he sees returning only eight lengths Atletico Madrid (2nd, 62 pts), Girona scorer a little earlier on goals from Diego Godin ( 76th) and Antoine Griezmann (90th + 4).
The first two face Saturday at Camp Nou and Real Madrid (3rd, 57 pts) moves to Valencia Wednesday with the opportunity to return to ten lengths of the head.
– Lesser evil –
Obviously, eight days from the end, the Barcelona maintain a solid mattress ahead of the “Colchoneros” Tuesday’s draw is a lesser evil. But a defeat on Saturday at Camp Nou against their direct pursuer could all revive at the worst moment, while the team of Ernesto Valverde thought himself safe before his quarter-final Champions League against Manchester United (10 and 16). April)!
Valverde may have been too risky on Tuesday, leaving his captain Messi or central defender Gerard Piqué on the bench. And the French left-handed hinge Clément Lenglet-Samuel Umtiti has suffered a lot.
Perhaps Barça also slipped away, quickly taking the lead thanks to the excellent Malcom. At 2-0, the match seemed bent but Villarreal, with the energy of desperation, was reborn thanks to the tumble of the amazing Nigerian striker Samuel Chukwueze, before taking the advantage against (62nd, 80th).
– Stunning scenario –
In short, the scenario was overwhelming, to the point that Valverde was forced to launch Messi at the hour of play while he wished undoubtedly to spare his quintuple Ballon d’Or, victim of chronic pubic pains.
The latter still scored on a free kick (90th), bringing the score to 4-3. And in a breathless end of the match, Suarez’s (90th +3) shot-off shot to save Barça from defeat and doubt.
Thanks to this equalizer in extremis, Barça remains undefeated since November in Liga, and since 2008 against Villarreal.
“I give great importance to the point,” said Valverde. “But we know that Atletico never surrenders and that same difficulty awaits us in all our matches.”
Moreover, Atleti was boring but effective against Girona Tuesday night to clinch his first victory against his pet peeve in six official matches.
In a soporific encounter at the Metropolitano stadium, Godin sprang out of the head to send a ball badly boxed by the goalkeeper (76th). The referee first canceled the goal for offside, with Antoine Griezmann appearing in an illegal position, but the decision was rectified by the video assistance to the arbitration (VAR).
And “Grizi” then closed the score of a balloon stung counterattack (90 + 4), his 13th goal of the season in La Liga. What to hunt his debut of scarcity in club, while the French remained on seven matches in a row without scoring with Atlético …