Barcelona completed a 4-1 rout of Villarreal to keep their La Liga title hopes alive after Real Madrid edge past Athletic Bilbao 1-0 earlier on Sunday.Also Read - Lionel Messi Will Always Have Role in my Team: Sergio Ramos
Real still lead the title race, four points clear of second-placed defending champions Barcelona. Also Read - Lionel Messi Agrees to Sign New Five-Year Deal With Barcelona With Massive Pay-Cut: Reports
Villarreal’s struggle began as early as the third minute of the contest when Pau Torres conceded an own goal but Gerard Moreno cancelled it out 11 minutes later. However, Barcelona’s trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Griezmann was in top-form as the visitors quickly regained their lead to take control. Also Read - Raul Gonzalez And Iker Casillas Are Biggest Real Madrid Frauds: Florentino Perez in Leaked Audio From 2006; Club Releases Statement
Messi set up Suarez and Griezmann for two sublime finishes and thought he has slotted home one of his own but Arturo Vidal was deemed off-side. Fati then came off the bench, replacing Suarez, for the fourth as Barcelona completed the milestone of 9,000 goals across all competitions.
“We needed this match a while ago,” said Barcelona coach Quique Setien. “We have to keep adding points and we’ll see what happens.”
On the other hand, Real aced what was considered to be their toughest test in ensuring they maintain their lead in the league. Captain Sergio Ramos converted a spot-kick in the 73rd minute as they overcame Bilbao 1-0 for their seventh straight victory.
Ramos said the win has put more pressure on their bitter rivals. “It’s a massive win,” Ramos said after the match. “We knew today was going to be one of the biggest games that we have left. It’s always a difficult game away at Bilbao and we saw it like that. We’re happy with another crucial three points that put more pressure on Barcelona.”