Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Villarreal v FC Barcelona - Estadio de la Ceramica, Villarreal, Spain - April 2, 2019 Barcelona's Luis Suarez in action with Villarreal's Alvaro (REUTERS)
Barcelona’s incredible fightback to draw 4-4 at Villarreal on Tuesday when they were trailing by two goals at the start of stoppage time underlined the team’s hunger to win the Liga title, goalscorer Luis Suarez said.
The Uruguayan’s deadly last-gasp strike completed a stirring and frantic comeback from the league leaders in one of the most entertaining games of the season in Spain in which Barca took a 2-0 lead before conceding four times to struggling Villarreal.
The draw saw Barca’s advantage over nearest challengers Atletico Madrid reduced to eight points ahead of Saturday’s showdown at home to Diego Simeone’s side.
“The spirit which we showed to never give up demonstrates how much we want to lift this league title,” Suarez told reporters after they avoided what would have been Barca’s first league defeat since November.
“Looking at how the first half was going I think we put in a great performance, we deserved to be winning although we know they had chances to score too.”
With the game against Atletico looming, plus next week’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Manchester United, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde started without talisman Lionel Messi as well as Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic.
But his side still took a commanding lead thanks to early goals from Philippe Coutinho and Malcom.
Coutinho hit the post and then Villarreal, who have spent most of the campaign in or around the relegation zone, came back with a vengeance.
The home side scored either side of the interval to equalise before Vicente Iborra and Carlos Bacca gave them a two-goal advantage with 10 minutes to go.
But a red card for Villarreal defender Alvaro Gimenez helped resuscitate Barca, with Messi scoring from a free kick moments before Suarez’s unstoppable equaliser.
“We had a great first half and should have made it 3-0 but they are fighting for their lives and they were playing at home,” Suarez added.
The Uruguayan warned that his side had plenty of work to do though before meeting Atletico in four days’ time.
“We have a lovely points margin but even though we didn’t lose today we know we have to improve,” he said.
“This game shows you that you end up paying dearly for any errors, and we need to make some corrections.”
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