That wasn't a vintage performance from Barcelona, but they did enough to restore their five-point lead at the top of La Liga. Goals from Messi and Suarez give them the three points and Valverde deserves credit for making the changes that changed the flow of the match.
- 2nd Half
- 1st Half
Villarreal CF - FC Barcelona
Liga - 10 December 2017
Liga – Follow the Football match between Villarreal CF and FC Barcelona live with Eurosport. The match starts at 19:45 on 10 December 2017. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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- End of 2nd Half
FULL TIME: Villarreal 0-2 Barcelona
Three minutes of stoppage time to be played at the end of the match.
ASENJO SAVE! The Villarreal goalkeeper plays the ball straight to Messi, who feeds in Vidal, but Asenjo was quick off his line to make the save. He made amends for his mistake.
It should be mentioned that Vermaelen has looked solid for Barcelona at the back. The former Arsenal man has proved himself to be a decent option for the Catalans in recent weeks.
- Yellow cardÁlvaro GonzálezVillarreal CF
Frustration starting to spill over for Villarreal. They have shot themselves in the foot.
- OffSergio BusquetsFC Barcelona
- OnAndré GomesFC Barcelona
Busquets come off to jeers and whistles from the home fans. They feel he played his part in getting Raba sent off.
The red card was a turning point in this game, but it should also be noted that Valverde made the necessary changes for Barcelona to make the most of their man advantage.
- GoalLionel MessiFC Barcelona
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Villarreal 0 Barcelona 2 (83 mins - Lionel Messi). Well, that's a strange goal. Busquets wins the ball 30 yards out., feeds Messi, with Villarreal centre backs colliding behind him, and the Argentine makes no mistake in finishing. That's the game.
That could and should have been game, set and match for Barcelona. Suarez might have scored the game's only goal, but there are still signs that he is far from his best form.
SHOULD HAVE BEEN 2-0! Suarez really should have netted his, and Barcelona's, second goal of the night. Messi picked him out unmarked, but he sliced a volley wide from eight yards out.
Barcelona are now doing their best to look after the ball. They are knocking the ball around the middle of the pitch. with Villarreal standing off them. This suits the visitors.
What a move that would have been from Trigueros and Villarreal. In the end, Ter Stegen makes the save, but there are signs of life from the hosts. They're not about to give this up.
RODRIGO SHOOTS! That was a half chance for Villarreal, with Rodrigo lining up the shot from the edge of the Barcelona penalty area, but his effort was straight at Ter Stegen.
What can Villarreal do with 10 men? They look resigned to the fact that they will suffer defeat here. They have no way to harm Barcelona on the counter attack. Not enough bodies.
The sending off will go down as the turning point in this match. Barcelona have looked more dangerous since Raba was shown a red card. They look comfortable in their lead now.
- GoalLuis SuárezFC Barcelona
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Villarreal 0 Barcelona 1 (72 mins - Luis Suarez). Alcacer plays a lovely one-two with Suarez, releasing the striker through on goal who rounds Asenjo in the Villarreal goal and finishes into the empty net. That's a hugely significant goal!
It feels like all the pressure is on Messi to deliver for Barcelona here. The Argentine is trying his best but he needs others to step up and help him out. He can't do it on his own.
SIDE NETTING! Alba picks out Messi inside the penalty area with a low pass, but the Barcelona number 10 could only strike the side netting with his shot. That was an opportunity.
- OffPaulinhoFC Barcelona
- OnAleix VidalFC Barcelona
There's the second change from Barcelona and it's Paulinho who is hooked. Not his best game.
BARCELONA DOUBLE CHANCE! Somehow Alba's cross isn't forced home from close range, with Suarez hitting the post. Then Rakitic has his effort blocked on the edge of the box.
So is this going to be a backs to the wall job for Villarreal now? They are to down 10 men when they were already having to do a lot of defending in the face of Barcelona possession.
- OffRoberto SorianoVillarreal CF
- OnAntonio RukavinaVillarreal CF
Soriano is taken off. That's not a reflection on his performance. Villarreal just need to change shape after the red card.
- Yellow cardCedric BakambuVillarreal CF
Bakambu is also shown a yellow card for his protests over that decision from the referee to send off Raba.
- Red cardDaniel RabaVillarreal CF
SENT OFF! Raba has been shown a straight red card for a challenge on Busquets. That was a late tackle from the Villarreal youngster. Busquets is still down on the ground.
INCHES WIDE! That's the closest Barcelona have come to a goal this evening. Alba plays a low pas into Messi, who sends an angled side-footed shot towards the far corner. Just wide.
ALCACER ALMOST GOT THERE! That would have been his first touch of the game since being brought off the bench, but Alcacer couldn't get on the end of Alba's low cross.
- OffDenis SuárezFC Barcelona
- OnPaco AlcácerFC Barcelona
Indeed, there's the change we expected with Alcacer coming on to replace Denis.
Things just aren't happening for Barcelona at the moment. There's no fluidity to their play when they work the ball into the final third. It's a little laboured at the moment. Strange.
I wonder how long it will be until we see Alcacer brought off the bench? Barcelona need someone to give them more of a presence in attack. The former Valencia man could offer that.
Denis gets away with one there. The former Villarreal midfielder lost the ball on the halfway line to Gaspar, but the referee saw a foul in the challenge. I couldn't see it.
Messi does his best to poke through a pass, but the packed Villarreal backline is proving exceptionally difficult to break down and the home side can make the clearance from the Argentine.
I'll let you know when something happens in this game. There's just no urgency to the play of Barcelona at the moment. And the potency that Villarreal had earlier has disappeared.
This game is being played at a very sluggish pace at the start of the second half. That will suit Barcelona to a certain extent, but they are lacking inspiration when they get into the final third.
- OffRúben SemedoVillarreal CF
- OnSamu CastillejoVillarreal CF
A change for Villarreal forced by injury to Semedo.
INTO THE SIDE NEETING! Bakambu gets in behind the Bracelona backline, but he doesn't show the necessary composure when he gets into a dangerous area and hits into the side netting.
Sorry, still working through some technical issues. We'll keep perservering through them.
- 2nd Half
The second half is under way! It's still goalless between Villarreal and Barcelona.
- End of 1st Half
HALF TIME: Villarreal 0-0 Barcelona. There's nothing to seperate the teams at the break, although the hosts will feel that they have had the better of the openings over the opening 45 minutes.
- Yellow cardSergio BusquetsFC Barcelona
Busquets is shown a yellow card for a foul on Raba.
Generally speaking, Villarreal will be pleased with how this first half has gone. They have had the better of the chances and have been rarely troubled at the back by Barcelona.
One of the issues for Barcelona at the moment is that so much depends on the form of Messi. When he's not playing well, the team as a whole suffers. They lack creativity and inspiration.
TER STEGEN INTERVENTION! Costa gets down the left side, as he has done more than once this evening, but his cross into the box is palmed away by Ter Stegen, who was under pressure.
Barcelona need Roberto to give them more of an outlet down the right side. He has been favoured to Semedo by Valverde for this match, but they need him to be more adventurous.
It must be said, there's not a great deal happening in this game at the moment. The match is largely being contested in the centre of the pitch. Not many goalscoring opportunities.
MESSI SHOOTS WIDE! Paulinho drives forward to the edge of the box, with the ball falling to Messi. However, after skipping to his left he could only send a shot wide of the post.
Villarreal are doing their best to catch out Barcelona on the rapid counter attack. However, at times it's almost as if they are forcing the issue a little bit too hard. Not very fluid.
It should also be noted that there is a starting place in this Barcelona team for Vermaelen. Out of nowhere, the Belgian has become a key figure for the Catalans in recent weeks.
This week saw Ronaldo pick up his fifth Ballon d'Or. This is in contrast to the poor form Messi finds himself in at the moment. The Argentine has suffered a dip of late. Is he fatigued?
Barcelona haven't been in the greatest form of late, but under Valverde they are still to lose a Liga game. Valencia are the ones who are keeping them in sight at the top of the table. Is that the title race this season?
Alcacer surely has a case to be starting over Suarez at the moment. The former Valencia striker has found his feet at Barcelona this season. When he's started, he's scored.
Suarez gets caught offside. That has become a common theme for the Barcelona striker this season. He's been in really poor form. I'm surprised Valverde has actually stuck by him.
This match sees Denis return to face his former club. The midfielder has been on the peipheries of the Barcelona first team this season, but this is a chance for him to make an impresson.
The home fans aren't happy. They feel that a number of refereeing decisions have gone against their team. They might have a case. The man in the middle is letting a lot go.
CHANCE! Costa gets down the left side and has the chance to find a teammate in th middle, but his pass is blocked by the first man. Barcelona looked vulnerable for a moment, there.
You just get the feeling that both teams are feeling their way into this at the moment. Barcelona have probably been the better team in terms of possession, but very few chances.
This has been a strong spell of pressure from Villarreal. Soriano, in particular, is giving Barcelona real problems. He is finding space in behind the Catalan centre backs. Dangerous.
Of course, Asenjo is making his return from injury this evening. The former Atletico Madrid shot-stopper has been out of action for the past 10 months. He's a good keeper.
MESSI FREEKICK! The Barcelona number 10 lines up the set piece from the edge of the Villarreal penalty area, but Asenjo read his intentions and makes the save to his left.
Messi has been quiet so far. Barcelona have seen more of the ball in the final third over the past few minutes, but Villarreal are doing a good job of keeping the little Argentine under wraps.
There's been a lot of chat of late over whether De Gea is curently the best goalkeeper in the world. But where does Ter Stegen fit into that discussion? He's had an excellent season.
Villarreal have settled into this game now. Barcelona started on top but it's now the hosts who are starting to impose their own style on the match. This could be a tough test for the Catalans.
GOOD SAVE FROM TER STEGEN! That was a good change of pace from Villarreal. Soriano thumps a volley at goal at the near post, but the Barcelona goalkeeper was equal to it. Decent stop. Very good stop, actually.
Apologies for the break in bringing you updates of this game. Some technical issues on our end of things. However, they've been sorted now. Yes, we turned it off and on again.
FIRST SAVE! Villarreal come forward on the counter attack, with Soriano heading towards goal from a tight angle. But there wasn't enough on the header to trouble Ter Stegen.
Paulinho brings something different to the Barcelona attack. He's not your typical player for the Catalan club. He's much more physical and direct. He's proved himself a good option.
This is an interesting team selection from Valverde. He has handed a starting place to both Denis and Paulinho. Of course, the latter has made quite the impression since joining in the summer.
Valencia's win means that Barcelona's lead at the top of La Liga has been reduced to just two points. However, victory here will see the Catalans retore their advantage to fiv points.
- 1st Half
The match is under way! It's Villarreal against Barcelona in La Liga.
TEAM NEWS: Villarreal - Asenjo, Mario, Alvaro, Ruiz, Costa, Rodrigo, Semedo, Soriano, Trigueros, Raba, Bakambu. /// Barcelona - Ter Stegen, Alba, Vermaelen, Pique, Roberto, Busquets, Denis, Rakitic, Paulinho, Suarez, Messi.
I'm Graham Ruthven and you can catch me on Twitter ahead of the game to let me know your thoughts. Can Villarreal end Barca's unbeaten domestic run? Tweet me!
Good evening and welcome to Eurosport's LIVE coverage of the Spanish Liga clash between Villarreal and Barcelona. We'll bring you all the action as it happens. Kick off is at 7.45pm.