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Barca’s Title Hopes Dented After Losing 8-Goal Thriller

BARCELONA, SPAIN – JANUARY 27: Ilkay Gundogan of FC Barcelona disappointed during the LaLiga EA Sports match between FC Barcelona v Villarreal at the Lluis Companys Olympic Stadium on January 27, 2024 in Barcelona Spain (Photo by David S.Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

FC Barcelona lost some more ground on the LaLiga leaders after suffering a 5-3 defeat defeat to Villarreal on Saturday night.


Result: Barcelona 3-5 Villarreal

Date: 27 January 2024

Venue: Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys

Ferran Torres was named on the Barcelona bench despite scoring a hat-trick against Real Betis last weekend, while 16-year-old Lamine Yamal was given a start alongside Joao Felix.

The Yellow Submarine had the ball in the back of the net after just three minutes when Alex Baena rifled the ball home from a tight angle, however celebrations were cut short due to the offside flag.

Barcelona looked lively at times, with Yamal causing a bit of problems down the right flank but they struggled to force Villarreal goalkeeper Filip Jorgensen into a serious save.

Villlarreal, meanwhile , had the ball in the back of the net once again at the midway point as the ball fell kindly for Gerard Moreno, who rifled the ball into the top corner however, the goal was ruled out for a foul on Jules Kounde in the build-up.

There was no denying the home side four minutes before the halftime break when Sorloth sent a low a cross into the box, where Gerardo Martino was on hand to drill the ball home from close range.

Barcelona coach Xavi responded with a triple change at the start of the second half as Andreas Christensen, Hector Fort and Oriel Romeu made way for Pedri, Pau Cubarsi and Joao Cancelo.

Cancelo’s introduction did not go down well as the defender’s mis-kick sent former Barcelona winger Ilias Akhomach clear on goal before he calmly slotted into an empty net after rounding Inaki Pena.

However, Barcelona pulled one back in the 60th minute when Illkay Gundogan found the bottom corner with a first-team finish from the edge of the box to set up a grand finale.

Eight minutes later, Xavi’s charges were back on level terms as substitute Pedri pounced on a loose ball in the box and sent a low strike into the bottom corner.

The turnaround was complete in the 71st minute after being gifted a third goal when GUndogan’s free-kick took a big deflection off Eric Bailly and sailed into the back of the net for the third goal.

The Yellow Submarine managed to get themselves back on level terms with six minutes to play when Goncalo Guedes collected a pass from Alexander Sorloth before rifling the ball into the far corner.

There was still time for a late winner as Sorloth became the hero when he bundled the ball home in the ninth minute of time added on, before the home side added a fifth goal a minute later from Jose Morales to round off a big win.

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