It would have been a perfect night for Samuel Chukwueze after scoring and assisting goal but stunning late goals from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez spared Barcelona’s blushes as they rescued a 4-4 draw with Villarreal in an incredible contest at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Tuesday.
Villarreal looked to have breathed life back into LaLiga’s title race after they came from 2-0 down to lead 4-2, but substitute Messi – who had been rested – and Suarez remarkably secured a share of the spoils to keep Barca eight points ahead of Atletico Madrid ahead of their meeting on Saturday.
A thrilling first half saw Barca race into a 2-0 lead against the run of play, with Philippe Coutinho and Malcom finding the net, but Samuel Chukwueze deservedly got Villarreal back in the contest after a rapid counter and a Marc-Andre ter Stegen error allowed Karl Toko Ekambi to level just after the break.
Goals from Vicente Iborra and Carlos Bacca appeared to put the contest beyond Barca, but Messi found the net with a brilliant free-kick in the 90th minute and Suarez broke Villarreal hearts in the third minute of stoppage time with a rasping finish.
Chukwueze neatly slotted home after his initial effort came back off the upright.
Chukwueze played a role again early in the second half, releasing Toko Ekambi up the right flank and his sliced cross punished Ter Stegen’s poor positioning as it crept in at the near post.