Messi, Suarez and Neymar star as Barcelona sweep aside Villarreal
Barcelona 4 - 1 Villarreal

Messi, Suarez and Neymar star as Barcelona sweep aside Villarreal

Lionel Messi scored his 50th and 51st goals in all competitions this season to help Barcelona keep the pressure on Real Madrid in the Spanish league's tight title race on Saturday.

Neymar and Luis Suarez also struck in a 4-1 victory over Villarreal that increased the combined goal tally of Barcelona's trio of star strikers to 102 goals in the campaign.

Barcelona's fifth straight win gave then three more points than Madrid before the latter visited relegated Granada later on Saturday.

Barca still lead Real Madrid at the top of the table courtesy of their superior head-to-head record, but Zinedine Zidane's side have a game in hand and need just two wins and a draw from their remaining three games to clinch a first title since 2012.

Villarreal, who had only conceded 10 times on the road prior to this fixture, proved to be a tough nut to crack in the early stages.

Messi was presented with Barca's first real sight of goal after 20 minutes when Alvaro Gonzalez handled at the edge of the box, but the Argentine blazed his free kick over the bar.

The hosts finally broke Villarreal's resistance moments later. Messi found space inside the box and fired across a sea of defenders and picked out Neymar, who took a touch before slotting past Andres Fernandez. Replays suggested that the Brazilian looked to be in an offside position.

Miscommunication between goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Gerard Pique almost saw the visitors gifted an equaliser as the defender deflected a cross onto the crossbar.

Fran Escriba's side responded after 31 minutes as Bakambu raced onto Roberto Soldado's through ball before keeping his composure to fire past Ter Stegen and score his seventh goal in six games.

Pique could only glance his header wide after Messi's cross while Soldado should have given Villarreal the lead with the goal at his mercy as both sides looked to gain a stronghold before the break.

But on the stroke of half-time, a moment of brilliance from Messi saw the hosts regain the lead. The Barca talisman skipped past the challenge of Rodri before slotting the ball into the bottom corner from outside the box, with a slight deflection leaving Fernandez wrong-footed in the Villarreal goal.

Barca continued on the front foot as Iniesta's sublime pass found the run of Digne but the defender lashed over the bar.

As the visitors looked to attack, a ruthless break saw the Catalans take a 3-1 lead. Sergi Roberto played through Suarez who created space before blasting past Fernandez and putting the game out of reach.

Jaume Costa's handball in the box gave Messi the chance to make it 51 goals this season and the Argentinian obliged with a Panenka nine minutes from time to extend their advantage in the title race.

Messi increased his league-leading haul to 35 goals, followed by Suarez's 27.

Betting on LA LIGA? Bet365 are offering a 100% deposit bonus, up to £200 - find out more

Related news

Ernesto Valverde is new Barcelona coach as Luis Enrique departs

Ernesto Valverde is new Barcelona coach as Luis Enrique departs

Barcelona have confirmed the appointment of Ernesto Valverde as their new coach.

Barcelona salvage season with Copa del Rey win against Alaves

Barcelona salvage season with Copa del Rey win against Alaves

Lionel Messi produced yet another master class as Barcelona marked the end of Luis Enrique's Nou Camp reign by lifting the Copa del Rey.

Real Madrid secure La Liga title with victory over Malaga

Real Madrid secure La Liga title with victory over Malaga

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema swept Real Madrid to their first La Liga title in five years as they cruised to a 2-0 win at Malaga on Sunday night.

Barcelona fightback against Eibar not enough to deliver La Liga title

Barcelona fightback against Eibar not enough to deliver La Liga title

Barcelona came from behind to beat Eibar 4-2 at the Nou Camp, but it was not enough to deliver the La Liga title in Luis Enrique's final home match.

Sevilla thrash Osasuna in likely Sampaoli finale

Sevilla thrash Osasuna in likely Sampaoli finale

Jorge Sampaoli led Sevilla to a 5-0 thrashing of already-relegated Osasuna in what could be his final game at the helm.

Ronaldo makes history as Real Madrid inch closer to La Liga title

Ronaldo makes history as Real Madrid inch closer to La Liga title

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice at Celta Vigo to ensure Real Madrid need just a point from their weekend game at Malaga to win the La Liga title for the first time in five years.

Neymar treble keeps Barcelona top with win at Las Palmas

Neymar treble keeps Barcelona top with win at Las Palmas

Neymar struck a hat trick as Barcelona stayed top of La Liga with a 4-1 victory away to Las Palmas.

Ronaldo double keeps Madrid on course for Liga title as Barca stay in race

Ronaldo double keeps Madrid on course for Liga title as Barca stay in race

Cristiano Ronaldo passed 400 competitive goals for Real Madrid with a brace as the title hopefuls defeated Sevilla 4-1 at the Bernabeu.

James, Morata net braces as Madrid thrash Granada to keep title control

James, Morata net braces as Madrid thrash Granada to keep title control

Real Madrid produced a ruthless first half display to thrash already relegated Granada 4-0 on Saturday and remain on course for a first league title in five years.

RELATED NEWS

Ernesto Valverde is new Barcelona coach as Luis Enrique departs
Barcelona news

Ernesto Valverde is new Barcelona coach as Luis Enrique departs

Barcelona have confirmed the appointment of Ernesto Valverde as their new coach.

Barcelona salvage season with Copa del Rey win against Alaves
Barcelona 3 - 1 Alaves

Barcelona salvage season with Copa del Rey win against Alaves

Lionel Messi produced yet another master class as Barcelona marked the end of Luis Enrique's Nou Camp reign by lifting the Copa del Rey.

Real Madrid secure La Liga title with victory over Malaga
Malaga 0 - 2 Real Madrid

Real Madrid secure La Liga title with victory over Malaga

Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema swept Real Madrid to their first La Liga title in five years as they cruised to a 2-0 win at Malaga on Sunday night.

Barcelona fightback against Eibar not enough to deliver La Liga title
Barcelona 4 - 2 Eibar

Barcelona fightback against Eibar not enough to deliver La Liga title

Barcelona came from behind to beat Eibar 4-2 at the Nou Camp, but it was not enough to deliver the La Liga title in Luis Enrique's final home match.

Sevilla thrash Osasuna in likely Sampaoli finale
Sevilla 5 - 0 Osasuna

Sevilla thrash Osasuna in likely Sampaoli finale

Jorge Sampaoli led Sevilla to a 5-0 thrashing of already-relegated Osasuna in what could be his final game at the helm.

Ronaldo makes history as Real Madrid inch closer to La Liga title
Celta Vigo 1 - 4 Real Madrid

Ronaldo makes history as Real Madrid inch closer to La Liga title

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice at Celta Vigo to ensure Real Madrid need just a point from their weekend game at Malaga to win the La Liga title for the first time in five years.

Neymar treble keeps Barcelona top with win at Las Palmas
Las Palmas 1 - 4 Barcelona

Neymar treble keeps Barcelona top with win at Las Palmas

Neymar struck a hat trick as Barcelona stayed top of La Liga with a 4-1 victory away to Las Palmas.

Ronaldo double keeps Madrid on course for Liga title as Barca stay in race
Real Madrid 4 - 1 Sevilla

Ronaldo double keeps Madrid on course for Liga title as Barca stay in race

Cristiano Ronaldo passed 400 competitive goals for Real Madrid with a brace as the title hopefuls defeated Sevilla 4-1 at the Bernabeu.

James, Morata net braces as Madrid thrash Granada to keep title control
Granada 0 - 4 Real Madrid

James, Morata net braces as Madrid thrash Granada to keep title control

Real Madrid produced a ruthless first half display to thrash already relegated Granada 4-0 on Saturday and remain on course for a first league title in five years.

22/06/2017
12:00 | ATP 500 - London
12:00 | Kei Nishikori v Karen Khachanov - ATP 500 - Halle
12:00 | ATP 500 - Halle
12:30 | Camila Giorgi v Elina Svitolina - WTA - Birmingham
13:00 | Marin Cilic v Stefan Kozlov - ATP 500 - London
14:00 | Garbine Muguruza v Alison Riske - WTA - Birmingham
14:30 | Jordan Thompson v Sam Querrey - ATP 500 - London
15:30 | Kristina Mladenovic v Shuai Zhang - WTA - Birmingham
17:00 | Cameroon - Australia
17:00 | Coco Vandeweghe v Johanna Konta - WTA - Birmingham
17:30 | Roger Federer v Mischa Zverev - ATP 500 - Halle
17:30 | Jeremy Chardy v Feliciano Lopez - ATP 500 - London
20:00 | Germany - Chile
20:45 | England U-21 - Poland U-21
20:45 | Slovakia U-21 - Sweden U-21
23/06/2017
11:00 | FORMULA 1 - Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Free Practice 1
12:00 | ATP 500 - London
12:00 | ATP 500 - Halle
12:00 | WTA - Birmingham
15:00 | FORMULA 1 - Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Free Practice 2
20:45 | Serbia U-21 v Spain U-21
20:45 | Macedonia U-21 - Portugal U-21
24/06/2017
12:00 | FORMULA 1 - Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Free Practice 3
12:00 | ATP 500 - London
12:00 | ATP 500 - Halle
12:00 | WTA - Birmingham
14:00 | MotoGP - Netherlands Grand Prix - Qualifying
15:00 | FORMULA 1 - Azerbaijan Grand Prix - Qualifying
17:00 | Mexico - Russia
17:00 | New Zealand - Portugal
20:45 | Italy U-21 v Germany U-21
20:45 | Czech Republic U-21 v Denmark U-21
25/06/2017
12:00 | ATP 500 - London
12:00 | ATP 500 - Halle
12:00 | WTA - Birmingham
12:00 | WTA - Eastbourne
14:00 | MotoGP - Netherlands Grand Prix
15:00 | FORMULA 1 - Azerbaijan Grand Prix
17:00 | Germany - Cameroon
17:00 | Chile - Australia
DERBY OF THE WEEK
Arsenal - Leicester City
Derby of the week
16:00
12/08/2017
Derby of the week
W 1.40    
   W 7.50
Football Live Scores
Tennis Live Scores
Free Betting Tips