Barcelona put aside their recent fights in an impressive display at Villarreal, winning 4-1 and returning four points behind La Liga leader Real Madrid.
Recent draws with Atlético and Celta, added to Madrid’s 1-0 win at Athletic Bilbao, meant that the current La Liga champions started at El Madrigal seven points behind their arch-rivals, but there was no sign of pressure revealing an impressive result. display in the first half.
With just three minutes left, Jordi Alba’s low cross from the left was deflected by Villarreal defender Pau Torres, under pressure from Antoine Griezmann. The hosts responded 10 minutes later, with Gerard Moreno following Santi Cazorla’s shot by Marc-André ter Stegen.
Barcelona regained the lead in stunning style after 20 minutes, Lionel Messi mounted Luis Suárez, who swept the ball into the far corner at 18 meters. Messi then watched Griezmann at halftime, with the wheel pulling the Frenchman to score with an audacious chip on the edge of the area.
In the second half, Messi thought he had increased Barca’s lead with Sergi Roberto’s shot in the remaining 20 minutes, only to have his goal delayed by VAR for offside. The visitors added a fourth at the end, with the 18-year-old substitute Ansu Fati kick from Raúl Albiol.
Elsewhere in the League, Jonathan Silva’s Espanyol winner kept Leganés’ low hopes of survival alive. Defeat means that the hosts will almost certainly be demoted for the first time in 27 years. In the other game of the day, Osasuna and Getafe played a goalless draw.
Musa Barrow is harassed by his Bologna teammates after scoring the winner against Inter. Photo: Miguel Medina / AFP / Getty Images
In Serie A, Internazionale’s post-restart rock form continued as they left the goal and the man’s advantage to beat 2-1 at home in Bologna, in the middle of the table, leaving 11 points behind leader Juventus.
Antonio Conte’s team led Romelu Lukaku in the first half. The Belgian scored his 20th goal of the season after Lautaro Martínez headed Ashley Young’s cross on the crossbar. Inter looked on with total control when they received a 62-minute penalty, shortly after Bologna’s Roberto Soriano was sent off for dissent.
Martínez’s weak effort was defended by Lukasz Skorupski, who also denied Roberto Gagliardini of the rebound. Bologna substitute Musa Juwara turned the game upside down, firing at the visitors before forcing Inter’s Alessandro Bastoni to take his second yellow card.
Bologna scored again after 10 minutes of play, Juwara’s Gambian compatriot Musa Barrow grabbed a passing ball and tightened his shot under Samir Handanovic. “There is a huge disappointment,” said Conte afterwards. “We managed to lose a game that we should have had [won] comfortably. I am angry with myself as a coach.
Napoli advanced on equal points with Roma, in fifth place, after a 2-1 victory at the Stadio San Paolo, with Lorenzo Insigne standing out as a winner for the hosts. José Callejón had placed Napoli in front of Mário Rui’s cross, only for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to equalize with a shot from the edge of the area.
Lorenzo Insigne celebrates his winning goal at Napoli. Photo: DeFodi Images / Getty Images
Roma’s third consecutive defeat in the league means they are now 15 points behind fourth-placed Atalanta, who overtook Cagliari and moved to Inter one point in third. Luis Muriel’s penalty in the first half was enough to win, but the hosts were offended when Giovanni Simeone’s opening game was ruled out by VAR by handball.
“The unallowed goal is absurd, although it is within the rules,” said Cagliari coach Walter Zenga. “We are disappointed because it is a decision that goes against the spirit of the game, it is not a rule that belongs to football.”
Genoa won what could be a vital point in the battle for relegation at Udinese, rising 2-0 to win a tie thanks to Andrea Pinamonti’s equalizer in the 97th minute. The Rossoblù are 17th, two points above Lecce and six ahead of Brescia, who kept their hopes up with a 2-0 home win against Verona.
Karol Linetty scored twice and Manolo Gabbiadini scored the other, while Sampdoria eased concerns about relegation with a 3-0 home win against Spal, who fell to the bottom of the table and looked doomed. In the other game on Sunday, Erick Pulgar’s double in the first half secured Fiorentina a 2-1 victory in Parma.