Ousmane Dembélé scored his second and third goals of the LaLiga season as Barcelona swatted Villarreal aside at Camp Nou to extend their unbeaten run.
Ernesto Valverde claimed that the Clásico on Sunday would be 'decaffeinated' with Barça already crowned Liga champions, yet a feisty, ill-tempered match followed. The visit of Villarreal balanced things out on a placid evening.
The Yellow Submarine set the tone before the match by graciously forming a guard of honour for the Barcelona players, a gesture that Real Madrid had refused to give. Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring after 11 minutes but Dembélé was the architect. The 20-year-old has been unable to find his rhythm in Catalonia due to a succession of injuries, yet he showed no signs of rust as he accelerate past three players and forced Sergio Asenjo to parry his shot in to Coutinho's path.
Paulinho doubled Barcelona's lead five minutes later after fine work from Iniesta in the build-up. The veteran midfielder was central to Barça's third goal, as he chipped a delightful pass for Lionel Messi to volley in to the bottom corner. It was a glorious moment of mutual understanding and flawless execution. Yet it was tinged with a sense of sadness. With Iniesta's time at Camp Nou nearing an end, this was probably the last hurrah of a special relationship.
Villarreal belatedly began to compete after the break, and clawed a goal back in fortuitous fashion when Pablo Fornals' shot deflected off Nicola Sansone and in to the net.
It proved to be no more than a consolation. Dembéle added two goals in the final three minutes as the game became increasingly stretched. With the season coming to a close, he gave Camp Nou a glimpse of what he will contribute if injuries stay at bay.