Villarreal 1-4 Barcelona: Lionel Messi sets up two in fine win

Antoine Griezmann has scored nine La Liga goals for Barcelona since his summer move from Atletico Madrid

Barcelona kept alive their slim La Liga title hopes with an excellent victory at in-form Villarreal.

They took an early lead when Pau Torres turned in Jordi Alba’s cross but Gerard Moreno levelled for Villarreal.

Lionel Messi brilliantly won the ball in midfield before feeding Luis Suarez – who curled in from 20 yards – and the Barca captain then backheeled to Antoine Griezmann, who scored a magnificent chip.

Ansu Fati blasted in a late fourth.

Barca’s front three of Messi, Suarez and Griezmann clicked perfectly in one of their best performances in recent months.

Messi has now reached 19 La Liga assists this season, the most of any player since he reached that figure in 2010-11.

He was unlucky not to score as he had a goal ruled out by the video assistant referee for offside and hit the crossbar with a late free-kick.

Barca are four points behind Real Madrid with four games to go and need their old rivals to slip up at least twice to have a hope of retaining their title.

Villarreal had won five games and drawn the other since La Liga restarted following the coronavirus pandemic.