Barcelona may just be ready to give up on the race for the La Liga title after a 1-1 draw with Villarreal on Sunday, thanks to goals from Nicola Sansone and Lionel Messi. Barça certainly tried hard, but could only get one goal, and the Blaugrana are now five points behind leaders Real Madrid, who have a game in hand. It's tough.
Barça had the ball throughout the half, but struggled with the final pass, the incisive ball to break down a stubborn Villarreal defense and find some scoring chances. The visitors did have a few good opportunities to find a goal, however, and a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Sergio Asenjo kept the Blaugrana from scoring in the first period.
The Yellow Submarine had a few dangerous counter-attacking chances in the first 25 minutes, but their ability to get back the ball and break quickly disappeared, and Barça finished the half in complete control.
Barça just needed the goals.
Remember that Villarreal hurt Barça on the counter? That happened again, and just four minutes into the final period, Alexandre Pato found Nicola Sansone, and the Italian forward easily put away the chance and scored the opener.
The Blaugrana went forward with desperation looking for an equalizer, and they had a clear penalty not given when Bruno Soriano extended his arm and blocked Messi's shot inside the box. Just five minutes later, Bruno handled the ball, AGAIN, and was not called for a penalty, AGAIN.
In the 90th minute, though, Leo Messi happened. The Argentine took a simply spectacular free kick to the top left corner in one of the best goals you'll EVER see.
A point doesn't help, but that goal may have made things a little better.
Villarreal: Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio (Alvaro), Ruiz, Costa; Trigueros, Bruno; Dos Santos, Soriano (Rodrigo); Sansone, Pato (Castillejo)
Goal: Sansone (49')
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Mascherano, Digne (Arda); Busquets, Gomes (Denis), Iniesta; Messi, Suárez, Neymar
Goal: Messi (90')