Barcelona fume after losing ground to Real Madrid in La Liga title race following draw at Villarreal

Lionel Messi's late free-kick salvaged a 1-1 draw for Barcelona to see them drop fiv points behind leaders Real

Monday 09 January 2017 09:57
Lionel Messi's late free-kick salvaged Barcelona a point from their La Liga clash with Villarreal
Lionel Messi's late free-kick salvaged Barcelona a point from their La Liga clash with Villarreal

Barcelona resumed their La Liga campaign after the winter break with a damaging draw at Villarreal, leaving Luis Enrique's defending champions five points off in-form leaders Real Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane's side equalled Barca's Spanish record of 39 games unbeaten in all competitions by swatting aside Granada on Saturday.

Barca needed to respond at Villarreal but could only muster a 1-1 draw, with an exceptional, late Lionel Messi free-kick cancelling out a fine second-half Nicola Sansone strike.

The Argentinian magician may have prevented the Yellow Submarine winning this fixture for the first time since 2008, but it continued a disappointing start to the year for Enrique's side.

Fresh from the midweek Copa del Rey loss at Athletic Bilbao, the draw at Villarreal leaves them third in the standings - a point behind second-placed Sevilla and five off Real Madrid, who also boast a game in hand.

Athletic were unable to follow up the 2-1 Copa del Rey triumph by beating neighbouring Alaves.

The hosts enjoyed the majority of possession and shots at San Mames, but the match ended in a 0-0 draw as Alaves extended their unbeaten LaLiga run to a fifth match.

Real Betis won the first ever top-flight meeting with Leganes as the fine home form under coach Victor Sanchez continued.

Barcelona were furious with the referee's performance after being left aggrieved with two penalty decisions

Ruben Castro opened the scoring six minutes after half-time and Cristiano Piccini wrapped up a 2-0 victory late on, meaning the Andalusians have yet to lose at Estadio Benito Villamarin in four matches under Sanchez.

Celta Vigo won their sixth home match in seven as Malaga were overcome 3-1 at Balaidos.

Luis Suarez reacts at the full-time whistle as Barcelona drop five points behind Real Madrid

Iago Aspas' seventh-minute strike put the hosts ahead, with Daniel Wass and Andreu Fontas putting Celta further in front. Wass' late own goal only cost Eduardo Berizzo's team a clean sheet.


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