Competition
  • Europa League

VILLARREAL 4-4 BARCELONA

Late Messi free-kick deals Villarreal hammer blow - in pictures

The look on the faces of the players in the Villarreal wall - Pedraza, Víctor Ruiz, Funes Mori, Iborra and Cáseres said it all about Messi's strike which hauled Barça back to 4-3.

Imagen de la secuencia del libre directo de Messi que supuso el tercer gol del Barcelona en el partido contra el Villarreal.

Villarreal were 4-3 up against Barcelona at Estadio de la Cerámica with a minute of normal time left to play. The visitors were pushing for an equaliser and the ball landed at the feet of Leo Messi, who then tried to wriggle his way into the penalty area only to by chopped down by Víctor Ruiz and a direct free-kick awarded. Prior to last night, Messi had put away six free-kicks from similar positions this season - no other team in Europe has registered as many goals from direct free-kicks as Messi has scored for Barça during the same campaign, not this season, nor during the past eight seasons. The Argentinean has scored from free-kicks in both of the last two league games.

Half the Villarreal team in the wall

The ball was carefully positioned 17 metres from goal. Villarreal keeper Sergio Asenjo set up a six-man wall - from left to right: Bacca, Pedraza, Víctor Ruiz, Funes Mori, Iborra and Cáseres. Messi meanwhile, studied the wall, Asenjo's position and decided where he was going to place his kick. Messi waits two to three seconds to increase the tension just before he steps up to strike the ball. The faces on the Villarreal players are a reflection of powerlessness and sheer dread. Just before the Barça ace makes contact with the ball, Carlos Bacca meanwhile, mysteriously tumbles to the floor for some reason known only to him.

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Sequence of Leo Messi's free-kick against Villarreal

Imagen de la secuencia del libre directo de Messi que supuso el tercer gol del Barcelona en el partido contra el Villarreal.

Imagen de la secuencia del libre directo de Messi que supuso el tercer gol del Barcelona en el partido contra el Villarreal.

Imagen de la secuencia del libre directo de Messi que supuso el tercer gol del Barcelona en el partido contra el Villarreal.

Imagen de la secuencia del libre directo de Messi que supuso el tercer gol del Barcelona en el partido contra el Villarreal.

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Messi puts Barcelona back into the game

Messi delivers his kick firmly and with precision. The ball flies past Asenjo's fingertips and enters in off the right post. The picture taken immediately afterwards shows Messi wheeling away and a look of frustration and dejection on the faces of the Villarreal players. Just 12 seconds remain before the full 90 minutes is up. Suddenly, thanks to Messi, Barça are back in the game and managed miraculously, to snatch a point after Luis Suárez rifled home an equaliser with the last game of the game.