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15 December 2013
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Ignacio Iglesias
• Attendance: 66130
Neymar 30', 68'
M. Musacchio 48'
Full time in Camp Nou, Barcelona get the three points! A double from Neymar sees the Catalan win 2-1 against Villarreal and go three points clear of Atletico Madrid at the top of of La Liga. They went ahead thanks to a controversial penalty to call from the referee after a handball from Mario. Musacchio equalised early in the second half but the Neymar scored his 5th goal in four days from close range to earn the points for Tata Martino's men. I'm Martin Macdonald, thanks for joining us, see you next time!
90' + 1'
AGAIN a Barcelona counterattack is broken down by a poor pass. This time Sergi Roberto is the culprit, as his attempted pass inside to Neymar is easily shut out by Musacchio.
Barcelona counter at tremendous pace and the ball eventually comes to Montoya at the byline but once again his final ball into the box lacks conviction, and Neymar cuts a frustrated figure in the middle.
Last change of the match from Barcelona as Sergi Roberto is introduced in place of Cesc.
Bizarrely, it looks as if Neymar has been booked by the referee for taking a corner kick too quickly. Everyone knows Barca take quick corners and free kicks. Ridiculous officiating.
Barcelona make a late change as Alexis is replaced by Pedro, who'll add some fresh legs up top.
Iniestaaaaa!! Brilliant save from Asenjo! The Barca man strikes the ball sweetly on the volley on the edge of the box and the strike looks corner-bound, but the Villarreal keeper gets down quickly to tip it round the post!
Xavi marvelously swivels on the ball 30 yards from goal leaving Trigueros before swiping the ball out to the right for Alexis, but Jaume Costa just sticks out a leg to intercept the pass.
Pinto collects the ball with ease from a corner kick and quickly sends Iniesta down the right wing. The ball eventually comes to Alexis but the Chilean doesn't have too much support up top and is forced to revert back to Montoya.
Barcelona are looking pretty comfortable now. They may only have the one-goal advantage, but Villarreal are definitely beginning to tire after the mass amounts of energy the have expelled chasing the ball up top now.
Barcelona have improved dramatically since the introduction of Xavi in midfield. There's tempo and accuracy about their passing now which was missing slightly in the first hour of play.
Third and final change from the visitors as Aquino is replaced by Jonathan Pereira.
Neymar is on course for his second hat trick in the space of four days. He's certainly stepped up since Barcelona lost their talismanic forward, Messi, to injury.
Villarreal respond quickly to Barca's second and make a change of their own. Hernan Perez has come off to be replaced by Bojan Jokic.
GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLL FOR BARCELONA!! THE CATALANS RE-TAKE THE LEAD!! Cesc picks out Alexis with a fantastic pass over the top of the opposition defence, who cushions the ball into the path of Neymar, who slots home from close range! 2-1!
Xavi looks to pick out Neymar with a sensational driven pass straight through the middle of the Villarreal defence but it just had an inch too much on it, which allowed Asenjo to rush off his line to claim the ball.
Dos Santos brushes off the challenge of Busquets before rushing forward but his path is abruptly stopped by Pique, who commits the foul with an arm across the chest of the Mexican.
Villarreal follow suit and make a change of their own. Edu Ramos is the man coming off and he'll be replaced by Uche.
Great save by Asenjo! Fabregas makes a superb run in behind the defence and lashes a strike at goal, but his attempt is blocked by the oncoming Villarreal goalkeeper!
First change of the match from Tata Martino as he introduces Xavi in place of Alex Song. The Cameroonian has did okay, but the man coming on will offer more in terms of a creative spark.
Superb block from Costa! Alexis releases Montoya in the inside right channel and the Barca right-back takes an unneeded touch before crossing inside. It was going into the danger area but the Villarreal defender slid in to make the block!
Alexis takes on Costa down the right wing and whips a cross to the front post, but Asenjo gets off his line quickly to come out and claim the ball. Song was lingering, but the keeper did well.
Terrific battling from Pina as he puts his body in front of Neymar and kicks and scrambles the ball away from the edge of the Villarreal box.
All of Fabregas' productive play in the opening 54 minutes has came from deeper areas. It wouldn't surprise me to see him move further back with someone else taking position centrally up top.
Again it is pass from Cesc that breaks down a Barcelona attack. The forward play looked promising, but he gave the ball away, and suffers the wrath of some of the home fans.
Dos Santoooos! Unlucky! The Villarreal No.9 collects possession on the right and swiftly cuts inside on his left-footed before dragging a shot on goal! It was just dragged too much though, and goes a whisker by the post.
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLL FOR VILLARREAL!! WHAT A START TO THE SECOND HALF! Mateo Musacchio bullets a header into the top corner from the visitors' first corner kick of the match! 1-1! Game on!
Good hold up play from Dos Santos again. The Mexican gets his body in front of the ball to hold off Pique, and eventually earns a free kick out of the centre back.
We are back under way in Camp Nou!
Villarreal are certainly a team who like possession themselves, but in that half they only had 22%.
Half time in Camp Nou. Villarreal have did well to frustrate Barcelona for the majority of the half but they still go in with a deficit thanks to a penalty from Villarreal. The spotkick was rather harsh on the visitors as Jordi Alba hit the ball off Mario from only a few yards away, but it was converted all the same as the Catalan side enter the break with a one-goal advantage.
Weirdly enough, in the last few minutes it's actually been Alex Song who's been the most advanced, central Barcelona player.
There's definitely signs of frustration from Cesc here. He's had desperately little of the ball so far so he is coming incredibly deep to receive possession. This, ofcourse, leaves nobody spearheading the attack
What a saaaaaaaave from Asenjo! The ball breaks to Alexis fortuitously eight yards from goal, and he attempt to nestle the ball into the corner, but he Villarreal keeper reacts wonderfully to tip the strike round the post!
The referee brandishes the first yellow card of the match, and it goes to Trigueros after a cynical foul on Neymar.
Jaume Costa joins in the Villarreal counterattack and cuts inside past two Barcelona players with a delightful Marseille turn, but he is stopped in his tracks by a foul by Busquets. Free kick to the visitors just inside the Barca half.
Cesc comes short and lays a classy pass down the left wing for Alba, who dashes forward before whipping a cross into the box. Musacchio is well positioned to cushion the ball out of the box, though.
Montoya gets into an attacking position once again down the right and just nicks the ball past Perez, but the Villarreal man just left the leg in to trip him up, and Barca get the free kick.
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLL FOR BARCELONA! Neymar steps up with a stuttering run before dispatching the penalty into the bottom left corner! 1-0!
That is so, so harsh on Villarreal. Alba crossed in from only a few yards away and the ball bounced up to the hand of Mario, who couldn't do anything to get it out of the way.
PENALTY TO BARCELONA! MARIO IS JUDGED TO HAVE HANDLED THE BALL INSIDE THE AREA! THAT LOOKED HARSH!
That's poor from Fabregas. Barca burst forward with Neymar and Iniesta linking up excellently with a couple of neat one-twos, but the former Arsenal man breaks down the attack with a bad touch on the edge of the box.
Superb defending from Musacchio! Neymar turns up the gears on the left wing and looks to cut back inside on his right foot inside the box, but the Argentine proves to be a brick wall and clears the ball up the park away from danger.
Trigueros finds a pocket of space 25 yards from goal and looks to unleash a powerful left-footed strike, but Busquets gets in the way to take the sting out of the attempt and the ball floats harmlessly through to Pinto.
Pique looks to pick out an ambitious crossfield pass to the top left corner for Neymar, but Aquino is back in a defensive position once again to deflect the ball out for a throw in.
Haven't seen too much of Cesc Fabregas so far. To be fair to the Arsenal man, all Barcelona's play has gone down the wings.
Aquino takes a superb touch on just inside his own half but is second touch isn't so good, which sees Neymar attempt to pounced on the loose ball. The Brazilian eventually is a bit over-zealous, and Villarreal get the free kick deep in their own half.
The former Barcelona and Spurs man pops up again with a tricky dribble, this time on the right flank. He looks to cut inside on his left foot but is eventually crowded out and forced to surrender possession.
First glimpse of Dos Santos as the Mexican bursts down the left wing. He hits the byline and reverses a cross to the edge of the box, but Iniesta is well placed to clear up the park to stop any shots on goal.
Villarreal enjoy a small period of possession as they knock the ball around confidently, but any potential attack is halted as the ball comes to Mario, who floats the ball high into the box for Pinto to easily claim.
Perez wins the ball from Neymar down the left-hand side and powers across the pitch before he is intercepted by Busquets. A small bit of respite for the visitors as they have a throw in on the halfway line.
Decent opening 10 minutes from Barca. The tempo of their play has been good, but Villarreal remaining relatively solid for the time being.
Busquets drills a fabulous pass into the feet of Iniesta inside the box who takes a touch towards goal. Villarreal scramble away and the ball eventually comes to Alexis who is flagged for offside.
Busquets gets away lucky with one as he wins the free kick out of Perez when the Villarreal man looked to have fairly won the ball in the air. The referee blows for a foul.
BARCA HIT THE POST! SO UNLUCKY FROM SONG! The ball falls to the former Arsenal man at the back post who rifles a half volley towards goal, but the attempt cannons off the inside of the woodwork!
All 11 Villarreal players in their own half at the moment.
Most of the plat has gone down the right for the hosts so far. Montoya is pushing very high up the park and he's looking to link up with Alexis on the overlap.
Barca typically start the match with the majority of possession in the opening stages. Iniesta is already looking to pull the strings from the middle of the park, but not much of a foray into the final third from the hosts as of yet.
Villarreal make the trip to Barcelona tonight without they key duo of Bruno and Cani. Let's see how they fair.
We are under way at Camp Nou!
The players have made their way to the field, and we are a few minutes from kick off!
The last time the two sides met at Camp Nou, Barcelona ran out comprehensive 5-0 winners thanks to goals from Thiago, Alexis, Cesc, and a double from Messi.
Martino makes some amendments to the team that defeated Celtic, with Cesc, Song, Alba, Iniesta, and Bartra coming into the first XI.
Villarreal (4-2-3-1): Asenjo; Mario, Musacchio, Dorado, Costa; Pina, Ramos; Trigueros, Perez, Aquino; Dos Santos.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Montoya, Pique, Bartra, Alba; Busquets, Song, Iniesta; Alexis, Cesc, Neymar.
Villarreal can move ahead of Barcelona's conquerors last week, Athletic, in the league with a win at Camp Nou tonight.
The Yellow Submarine may have lost key players such as Giuseppe Rossi and Borja Valero since their relegation to the Segunda, but have replaced them with solid talent such as Giovani dos Santos and Ikechukwu Uche.
The league leaders are up against newly-promoted Villarreal, who are performing above expectations this season and find themselves in fifth place with 28 points taken from 15 matches.
The loss last weekend now means that the Catalan side are level on points with Atletico Madrid and just three points ahead of Real Madrid in the table.
The Brazilian scored a superb hat-trick against the Scottish champions, scoring his first every Champions League goal in the process.
However, a Neymar-inspired 6-1 drubbing of Celtic in the Champions League on Wednesday may be a sign that they have quickly got back on track.
Gerardo Martino's outfit didn't have the best of outings in their last La Liga match as they succumbed do a 1-0 defeat away at Athletic Bilbao.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be reporting on the action.
Good evening folks! Welcome to LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division encounter between Barcelona and Villarreal from Camp Nou!
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