Barcelona beats Villarreal 2-1 to stay near the top in Spain

MADRID — Antoine Griezmann scored a pair of first-half goals as Barcelona came from behind to beat Villarreal 2-1 and stay close to the top in the Spanish league on Sunday.

The away victory left Barcelona two points behind leader Atlético Madrid, which visits Athletic Bilbao later Sunday. Barcelona is third, level on points with second-place Real Madrid, which was held 0-0 by Real Betis at home on Saturday. Barcelona has a game in hand compared to Madrid.

Villarreal, sitting seventh, played with 10 men from the 65th minute after Manu Trigueros was sent off with a straight red card for a dangerous sliding tackle on Lionel Messi. Trigueros had his foot up when he hit Messi’s left leg, sliding his cleats on the Argentine’s lower shin. Messi was in pain and needed medical attention but was able to return.

The hosts opened the scoring with Samu Chukwueze in the 26th, but Griezmann equalized in the 28th and netted the winner in the 35th.

It was Barcelona’s second straight league win since losing to Madrid in the last clásico of the season.

Villarreal, which hosts Arsenal in the first leg of the Europa League semifinals on Thursday, has lost three of its last four league matches.


Enes Unal scored a goal in each half as Getafe won 2-0 at Huesca in a match between relegation-threatened teams.

The result ended Getafe’s seven-match winless streak. The Madrid club moved to 15th in the standings, five points from the relegation zone.

Huesca stayed second-to-last, three points from safety.

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