FC Barcelona defeats Villareal at their home turf, Estadio de la Ceramica, by 4-3, in a match which has seen all emotions, from joy to despair, as the defending champions edge past their opponents in an intense game. Polish striker and Pichichi winner from last season Robert Lewandowski gets on the scoresheet for the first time this season, as Barca wins the game 4-3 after trailing 2-3 on 66 minutes.
FC Barcelona vs Villareal- a clash of the ages
FC Barcelona came on the back of a brilliant victory at their new ‘home’ Estadi Lluis Olimpic stadium, when they breezed past Cadiz 2-0, courtesy goals from midfield prodigy Pedri and Ferran Torres, on the dying minutes. They would have hoped for a comparatively easier victory against a strong Villareal side, but in La Liga, one cannot drop their anchor, as every team in this league has a fierce competitive edge. But, it took Barca 12 minutes to go ahead with a Gavi header, assisted by the 16-year old wonderkid Lamine Yamal from the right flank, and within three minutes, another midfielder Frenkie De Jong scored a sitter, doubling up Barca’s lead. Just when everyone came under the impression that Barca might have secured an easy victory over The Yellow Submarine, it was Argentine defender Juan Foyth, who scored from an Alex Baena corner to get things underway for Villareal, and it took 14 more minutes for them to equalize via their Norwegian goal-machine Alex Sorloth. In the second half, it was all Villareal as they went ahead with an instrumental Alex Baena giving the lead with a meticulous curling shot past Ter Stegen, but the defending champs left no stone unturned in turning things in their favor with a Ferran Torres goal, followed by Lewa’s strike which ended the game in favor of the Catalans.
Lamine starts, Roberto leads the team
Barcelona took a shock beating last week when they were treated to the news of Pedri’s injury, which has forced to sideline him for many weeks. The 20-year old star was instrumental in Barca’s victory over Cadiz, as he opened the scoring for the Catalans this season, and his injury would be a setback for them. As a result, Barca’s makeshift boss Oscar Hernandez(Xavi’s brother), who has taken the helm in Xavi’s absence, was forced to make some changes in the starting line-up, with Sergi Roberto, who made the headlines last week by rejecting a Saudi offer, was named the captain. Oscar went with a 4-3-3 formation, with Christensen, Kounde on the central defensive position, flanked by Roberto and Marcos Alonso. In the midfield, it was the next “Busi”, Oriol Romeu on the central midfield accompanied by the versatile Frenkie and Gundogan, and the attack comprised 16-year old ‘legend’ Lamine Yamal and Gavi on the wings, who were shouldering the responsibilities of assisting finisher Lewandowski.
Villareal went with a 4-4-2 formation with Sorloth and Moreno spearheading the attack, followed by Baena, Capoue, Terrats and Parejo. The defensive backline of former Barca boss Quique Setien comprised a multinational line-up with Argentine Juan Foyth, Italian Manolo Gabbia and two Spaniards Cuenca and Pedraza.
Gavi gets things underway
Lamine Yamal and Gavi, two of the youngest starters yesterday, were instrumental in leading Barcelona to their first goal. Lamine, who has created history in the last game against Cadiz by becoming the youngest ever starter for Barca, was the main man yesterday as he was seen glued to the ball every time. With his swift dribbles and eye-catching passes over the right wing rejuvenated every Culers’ mind by reminding them of their legend, Messi.
On the 12th minute, it was Lamine’s cross which flew across the penalty area towards his La Masia mate, Gavi, who went over several players in heading the ball past Villareal custodian Jorgensen, to give the lead for Barca, thus rekindling their La Masia connection. After the ball went in, Gavi was seen celebrating in Pedri style, thus paying his tribute to his best mate.
Frenkie- the striker midfielder
After Gavi, it was time for another midfielder to double up the lead for Barcelona, as this time, it was Dutchman Frenkie who scored his first of the campaign, from a meticulous Lewandowski backheel pass, which went past Villareal stoppers to reach the feet of Frenkie, who slotted past the second goal of the night, thus Barca leading 2-0 at an away game.
Villareal strikes three back in 25 minutes
With Barcelona leading the game 2-0 and everyone might have shoved off a Villareal comeback, anything is possible in the Spanish courtyard when one team is trailing within the first 15 minutes. The Yellow Submarine were getting repeated opportunities to scour one back for them, but were thwarted by Barca’s wall, Ter Stegen and his brigade of sturdy defenders. As a result, the only way they could go ahead was from a set piece and Argentine defender Juan Foyth was up for it. Alex Baena swirled one past the right corner, with Foyth netting past Ter Stegen, thus securing one back for them.
It is rumored that Norwegian people never give up, and Sorloth lived up to that expectations last night. On the 40th minute, he was assisted by a Pedraza shot, as he went past Barca defenders to restore the parity against the Catalans, thus going in to the half-time with a 2-2 score, poising for an intense finish.
In the second half, Villareal’s Alex Baena, who has been instrumental throughout the game, scored a soothing curler past Ter Stegen, with his shot swerving past the German custodian, thus taking the lead against the defending champions, who were looking hapless at that point, and were urgently in need of some fresh faces.
Ferran scores, Lewa registers his first
Ferran Torres, once an instrumental star for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, was subbed on 63rd minute, replacing Oriol Romeu, in hope of finding an equalizer to get things back in Barcelona’s favor. Although Ferran was initially considered an outcast for Xavi, as he had fallen down the pecking order, but his brilliant performances in last two fixtures would do the talking as he scores his second goal in consecutive second game. After firing the shot at Jorgensen, who had blocked the shot, Ferran got the rebound shot to blank the Villareal net, as the ball lobbed past the opponent custodian, breezing past him. As a result, Barcelona restored parity in the game, thus giving hope of a comeback victory to each Culers in the stadium.
Lewandowski, who has had a goal-scoring drought over the last two games, as he had a questionable start. But, as people say, form is temporary, class is permanent, and Lewandowski proved his critics that he has returned with a classy goal which deflected from a Lamine Yamal shot which hit the woodwork. Lamine had been instrumental on the field with his on-field antics as he was often seen spearheading the attacking mindset for the Blaugranas, and yesterday, he almost scored a goal. But, maybe luck was on Lewa’s side after Lamine’s shot deflected off the woodwork, and Lewa easily went past the keeper as the ball fell to his feet, and he would not be the man to squander the shot, thus registering his first goal of the campaign.
Lamine gets a standing ovation on being replaced
La Masia graduate Lamine Yamal, who is already a starter for Barca, has hyped his fans up with his back-to-back glorifying performances, thus rejuvenating the La Masia blood of securing a standing ovation from the opponents. Last night, when he was substituted on the 76th minute, fans and supporters in Estadio de la Ceramica greeted him with a standing ovation owing to his masterclass performance, where he assisted Gavi’s goal and helped in Lewa’s first strike, thus channeling Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta, who were the previous ones in line to get a standing ovation from the opponent fans.
Lamine Yamal, as they say, remember the name, as he is one of the stars to look out for in the future, and could secure a spot in the Spanish senior side, soon, as gaffer Luis De La Fuente plans to call him up ahead of September’s friendlies.