LaLiga match report Barcelona vs Villarreal


FC Barcelona started life under Ronald Koeman in style with a 4-0 victory over Villarreal in their LaLiga opener on Sunday evening.

The new era at Barca saw Neto in goal ahead of the injured Marc-Andre Ter Stegen with Philippe Coutinho slotted straight into the line-up after returning from his loan spell at UEFA Champions League holders Bayern Munich.

Following an energetic opening, Villarreal trailed their more illustrious opponents 15 minutes in when Ansu Fati made a late run in the area to rifle Jordi Alba’s cutback into the roof of the net.

Fati secured a first-half brace four minutes later when he spotted an open space on the left side of the area to drill home Coutinho’s penetrative ball through the middle of the area.

The Catalans made it three goals four minutes from the half-hour mark after Messi fired underneath the gloves of Sergio Asenjo from the penalty spot after Fati was sent crumbling in the area.

Coutinho threatened a fourth in the closing stages of the half following a half-volley from the far side of the area, but Asenjo showed up with sharp agility.

Barca were handed a fourth on the stroke of halftime albeit in fortuitous circumstances as a ball towards the centre of the area from Messi found Pau Torres who slotted into his own net.

The Catalans refused to take their foot off the accelerator despite their healthy tally, as Messi nearly made it five minutes in the second half following a snap-shot however Asenjo gathered.

Barcelona remained in control following the closing minutes of the second half after Asenjo pulled across his goal-line to beat Messi’s instinctive attempt over the bar.

New signings Miralem Pjanic and Francisco Trincao made their debuts for the hosts in the last 12 minutes after replacing Sergio Busquets and Antoine Griezmann from the bench.

The Catalans sustained the final moments successfully to start their season and life under their new manager on a high.