Result: Villarreal 4-4 FC Barcelona
Date: 02 April 2019
Venue: Estadio de la Cerámica
LaLiga leaders FC Barcelona and Villarreal played out an eight-goal thriller at Estadio de la Cerámica after the two sides drew 4-4 on Tuesday evening.
Ernesto Valverde made four changes from Barça’s last outing against Espanyol, with Samuel Umtiti, Sergi Roberto, Malcom and Arturo Vidal coming in to the side, while Lionel Messi started the encounter on the bench.
Despite Messi's absence, Philippe Coutinho sent Blaugrana ahead in the 12th minute with an easy tap-in following some good work by Malcom down the right flank.
Four minutes later, Malcom doubled the lead for Valverde’s charges with a well placed header after he was picked out by Vidal as Barca took control from the onset.
Samuel Chukwueze pulled a goal back for the Yellow Submarine in the 23rd minute with a close-range finish after initially striking the post with a deflected shot.
Barça were losing control of the match in the latter stages of the half, but the home side struggled to carve out clear-cut chances as the Catalan giants went into the break with a slender lead.
However, Karl Toko Ekambi levelled matters for the Yellow Submarine five minutes into the second stanza with a cross-cum-shot from the right flank that found corner at the near post.
Villarreal were in the ascendancy and Vicente Iborra gave the hosts a shock lead in the 62nd minute, a minute after Messi was introduced for Barça in place of Coutinho, with a neat finish over Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
With 10 minutes remaining, second-half substitute Carlos Bacca got the fourth goal for the hosts, after latching onto a pass from Santi Cazorla to round Ter Stegen and slot into an empty net,
Villarreal were down to ten men with four minutes remaining after Alvaro Gonzalez picked up his second yellow card and got his marching orders.
Soon after, Messi sensationally reduced the deficit for Barcelona in the last minute with a free-kick from just outside the box to make for a nervy finish.
It was left to Luis Suarez to rescue the visitors in stoppage time with a cracking left-footed half-volley to salvage a point on the road.