Antoine Griezmann scored a quick double in a 2-1 win away at Villarreal to lift Barcelona to second in La Liga.
Antoine Griezmann scored a quick double in a 2-1 win away at Villarreal to lift Barcelona to second in La Liga. The result on Sunday means league leaders Atletico Madrid are now only two points ahead of the Catalan side. However, they have a game in hand and could well open up that lead. For Barcelona, it was their third win in as many games. Their last loss came against Real Madrid in the Clasico fixture two weeks ago. Back then, it seemed like Real Madrid would be in prime position to potentially derail their local rivals. However, it is Barca who are now in that position.
Three goals in seven minutes before half-time saw Villarreal take the lead and then swiftly fall behind. Griezmann leveled scores with a well-taken lob. Minutes later, he took advantage of a poor back-pass and put Barca ahead.
Ronald Koeman’s men were helped by a red card for Villarreal’s Manu Trigueros when a little over sixty minutes were on the clock.
But Barcelona held on for a win that puts them level on points with Real Madrid. The bonus is that they have played a game less than the reigning La Liga champions.
After the match, manager Koeman sounded optimistic about a run to the title. “It’s a big step towards the title,” Ronald Koeman said.
“Every victory is a step forward. Every match is difficult. We reacted well to their goal, creating chances. We were tired in the final stretch, but we defended well.
“Sometimes you have to suffer. You can have a good opponent, someone who makes it difficult for you. We weren’t nervous after their goal. In the end it was enough to get a win out of a complicated ground.”
Barcelona will next play Granada, while Real Madrid will face Osasuna. Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, have an away match against Elche.