Barcelona’s Win over Villareal Blemished by Messi’s Injury

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Barcelona FC bounced back from Saturday’s shocking loss to Granada, with a comfortable 2-1 home win over Villareal, to move ahead to the fourth spot in La Liga rankings. However, their victory was spoiled by Lionel Messi limping off injured.

Messi had just recovered from the right calf injury, which kept him sidelined since pre-season. The Argentinian had to be replaced at the start of the second half due to abductor muscle injury.

In his 400th match as a starter in La Liga, Messi received lengthy treatment before being replaced at half-time by Ousmane Dembele. After the game, coach Ernesto Valverde insisted that replacing Messi was a precautionary measure, adding: “When something happens to Messi, the world stops. Not only here in Barcelona. We decided not to take any risks. We will see tomorrow; I cannot tell you anything right now. He was out for a long time, and we don’t want to take any risks at the moment.”

Barca overtook the fourth place in the standings with the win over Villareal, and now has 10 points, one less than Granada, Athletic Bilbao, and Real Madrid. Arthur and Antoine Griezman scored for the home side, with Santi Cazorla finding the net for the visitors.

Barcelona claimed the lead 10 minutes into the game when Griezman guided Messi’s near-post corner over the Villareal goalkeeper and into the net. The home side secured their win only five minutes later when Arthur scored an impressive 25-yard goal, beating Asenjo with a shot that flew into the top corner.

Villareal defenders gave him more than enough space, and he took his chance with an exceptional finish. Cazorla reduced the lead a minute before the half-time break with an elegant long-range effort of his own.

Barcelona visits Getafe on Sunday before hosting Inter Milan in the Champions League. Valverde will want Messi available as Barcelona tries to bounce back after a slow start to the season. He said, “We are playing well at home, but I think that Messi’s injury distracted everyone a little bit. I think we’re very much on track at home, though.”