Barcelona beats Villarreal 4-1 to keep slim title hopes alive

Written By: BBC
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Barcelona kept alive their slim La Liga title hopes with an excellent 4-1 victory at in-form Villarreal with Lionel Messi at the heart of the perfomance.

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They took an early lead when Pau Torres turned in Jordi Alba’s cross but Gerard Moreno levelled for Villarreal.

Messi brilliantly won the ball in midfield before feeding Luis Suarez – who curled in from 20 yards – and the Barca captain then backheeled to Antoine Griezmann, who scored a magnificent chip.

Ansu Fati blasted in a late fourth.

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Barca’s front three of Messi, Suarez and Griezmann clicked perfectly in one of their best performances in recent months.

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Messi has now reached 19 La Liga assists this season, the most of any player since he reached that figure in 2010-11.

He was unlucky not to score as he had a goal ruled out by the video assistant referee for offside and hit the crossbar with a late free-kick.

Barca are four points behind Real Madrid with four games to go and need their old rivals to slip up at least twice to have a hope of retaining their title.

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Villarreal had won five games and drawn the other since La Liga restarted

Earlier Sergio Ramos scored the only goal for a second consecutive game as Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao to move closer to the La Liga title.

Ramos slammed home a penalty – just as he did on Thursday against Getafe – after Dani Garcia fouled Marcelo in a decision given by VAR.

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He has scored five goals in seven matches – all wins – since the restart.

Real Madrid’s win over Athletic Bilbao was a game of few goalscoring chances, with Thibaut Courtois making only one save.

Courtois became the first goalkeeper to keep 17 clean sheets for Real in a single La Liga season since Francisco Buyo in 1994-95.

Zinedine Zidane’s side only need to win three of their remaining four games to secure a second La Liga title since 2012.

 

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