Philippe Coutinho started the party and Ousmane Dembele finished it as Barcelona thrashed Villarreal 5-1 at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night.
Barcelona 5 Villarreal 1
Coutinho (11′) capitalises on keeper error
Paulinho (16′) converts fine passing move
Messi (45′) finishes from close range
Fornals’ shot diverted in by Sansone (54′)
Dembele (87′, 90′) bags late brace
Dembele had a hand in Philippe Coutinho’s 11th-minute opener, before Paulinho doubled Barca’s lead five minutes later. Lionel Messi got in on the act with their third in first-half stoppage time, and although Nicola Sansone pulled one back for the Yellow Submarine early in the second half, Dembele wrapped up the big win late a late double.
The hosts quickly got into their stride and Messi was first to threaten on seven minutes when he collected Paulinho’s threaded pass and curled a shot wide of the left post from inside the area on the right.
They made the breakthrough just four minutes later, though, as Ousmane Dembele went on a mazy run on the right and saw his curler from the edge of the box spilled by Sergio Asenjo, with Coutinho scoring on the rebound.
Javier Calleja’s men were poor in the first half, but they almost hit back on 14 minutes when Pablo Fornals controlled on his chest and got off a shot from 18 yards out that was parried behind by Jasper Cillessen.
However, their night got worse two minutes later as Andres Iniesta slipped in Lucas Digne on the left and he squared for Paulinho to tap home from inside the six-yard box.
Iniesta looked to put the game to bed on 22 minutes with a first-time strike from 22 yards out on the left that flew wide of the right post.
Barca continued to see plenty of the ball as the first half wore on, but the visitors went close to equalising four minutes before the break. Samu Castillejo’s initial shot was parried by Cillessen into the path of Jaume Costa, whose follow-up was stopped by the keeper’s leg.
The Catalan giants struck again on the stroke of half-time to sit firmly in the driving seat. Messi was left with a simple finish at close range from Iniesta’s lofted pass to the back post.
— FC Barcelona 🏆🏆 (@FCBarcelona) May 9, 2018
Villarreal nearly pulled one back three minutes into the second half as Castillejo sliced his way through three defenders on the right before firing narrowly wide of the right post from 19 yards out.
Carlos Bacca then hooked an effort beyond the left post on 52 minutes after connecting with Mario’s pass inside the box, but they did find the back of the net just two minutes later.
Sansone didn’t know much about it, though, as Fornals’ shot from inside the area on the left struck him and diverted into the bottom-left corner of the goal.
Fornals had another sniff at goal on 63 minutes after being played in by Costa, but he fired wide of the right post as Cillessen rushed out to narrow the angle, while Bacca drew a routine save out of the Netherlands international four minutes later with a tame shot from 18 yards out.
Sansone wasn’t far off from cutting the deficit to one goal on 75 minutes as he fizzed an effort inches over the crossbar from 20 yards out after cutting through the home defence.
However, Barca took the wind out of their sails with two goals in the final three minutes. First, Ivan Rakitic advanced into the box on the right and squared for Dembele to slot home from close range on 87 minutes, before the Frenchman completed his brace in stoppage time with a powerful 50-yard run that ended with a chip over Asenjo.