Barcelona kept their La Liga title hopes alive with an impressive 4-1 victory against an in-form Villarreal side at the El Madrigal stadium.
Barcelona came flying out and took a third-minute lead when Jordi Alba’s cross was turned into his own net by Pau Torres for an own goal.
The visitor’s struggles with leads was again realised 10 minutes later when a Paco Alcacer-led counter ended with Marc-Andre ter Stegen turning Santi Cazorla’s effort straight at Gerard Moreno, who could not miss the rebound from close-range.
But Barca were undeterred and showed a resolve they have been missing in recent weeks to restore their lead. Messi’s typically strong run was followed by an inch-perfect ball into Suarez, who struck it perfectly into Asenjo’s far corner to make it 1-2 to barcelona.
Antoine Griezmann earned his just reward for a brilliant individual display in the opening period. He delivered a delightful and audacious chip from the edge of the box that left Sergio Asenjo in no man’s land.
The visitors went into the break with a 3-1 advantage.
Villarreal boss Javier Calleja made two changes at the break, and his side’s attempts to stifle Barcelona were more effective straight from the restart. However, the changes led to a less chaotic and ultimately entertaining contest in the second period.
Barcelona’s approach play became more intricate, committing fewer bodies forward in a bid to protect themselves from the counter. However, the visitors would eventually breach Asenjo’s goal through substitute Ansu Fati to seal an impressive 4-1 victory for the visitors.
Barcelona’s diamond formation devastated an excellent Villarreal side, and if they can continue to build momentum and chemistry in this new formation, they would chase Real Madrid all the way to the end for the Spanish La Liga title.
Barcelona will host Espanyol on Wednesday, while Villarreal will travel to Getafe on Wednesday.
Other La Liga results
RCD Espanyo 0-1 Leganes
Osasuna 0-0 Getafe