Villrreal – FC Barcelona: Comeback for Tito (2-3)

The team, full of pride, fought back from a two-goal deficit to claim the three points

Barça are still in contentn for the league title. The situation was critical in the Madrigal. Emotionally shattered by the death of Tito Vilanova and the two goals for Villarreal pinned Barça back, but two own goals and a third from Messi proved enough to win the three points.

Still saddened after the minute of silence in memory of Tito, the players started off just like their former coach would have liked: intense in pressure and dominating the game. Initially Messi was dangerous in the opening 15 minutes, but Asenjo stood in the Argentinian’s way. Barça passed the ball with patience, while Villarreal’s approach was quite the opposite. Their play was very vertical and fast, especially with the inclusion of Perbet Pereira. Under the direction of Cani, the Yellow Submarine created danger on Pinto’s goal.

With accumulated men in the Villarreal area, the home team were proving difficult to overcome by the Blaugrana. The thought of shooting from distance didn’t seem to be an option for the visitors, as Alexis proved the most dangerous for the Blaugrana as he penetrated the defence from the right. The game broke down in the final minutes of the first half, and the team that came out on the losing end was Barça.

First Bartra saved Aquinas goal almost on the line and then in the last action of the first half, Cani fired his team ahead after a quick counterattack. The 1-0 forced Barça to rebound in the second half. And, as in the first raid of Asenjo neutralized Messi (min 51) and saved another shot two minutes later. That’s when the home team doubled their lead, when Trigueros scored the second with a flawless header.

Barca, now with Cesc and Tello on the pitch, were more incisive. The team pulled one back after a cross from Alves was deflected into goal by Gabriel (64 min). Villarreal could sense that danger of losing points was close. Then Barça equalised when Musacchio scored an own goal, again after a cross from Alves.

The Villarreal wall finally collapsed when a triangulation between Busquets, Cesc and Messi ended with a shot from the Argentinian to the back of Asenjo’s goal. This team won’t give up. This victory borne out of pride and courage. It could not end any other way, they could not fail Tito Vilanova.

Tata Martino: “It's been a very sad weekend for Barça and football”

The manager says that preparing for this match was “difficult” after the team learned of Tito Vilanova’s death on Friday

After the match against Villarreal Tata Martino wanted to talk about FC Barcelona’s difficult weekend due to the death of Tito Vilanova. “It’s been a very sad weekend for Barça and for football. Talking about football now, independently of how the game played out tonight, seems inappropriate and out of place.” The manager then sent his condolences to Vilanova’s family and friends.

Martino briefly talked about Barça’s capacity to fight back. “It was very difficult because we were two goals down. But we showed our capability to react, our courage, and fortitude. That’s what we had to do in order to still have a chance of winning the Liga.” Finally, he noted that preparing for tonight’s match wasn’t an easy task after the team learned of Tito’s passing on Friday.

Emotional minute of silence at El Madrigal

Emotiu minut de silenci dels jugadors del Barça al Madrigal / FOTO: MIGUEL RUÍZ - FCB
The teams observed a minute of silence ahead of this evening’s match at El Madrigal

El Madrigal experienced a very emotional moment when the teams and the fans observed a moment of silence in remembrance of FC Barcelona’s former manager Tito Vilanova, who passed away on Friday.

The team will pay homage to their former manger next week at the Camp Nou, against Getafe, but this evening the players came out onto the pitch with black armbands. Villarreal came out of the players’ tunnel donning shirts that read ‘Per sempre Tito’ (Forever, Tito).

Youth B team make special tribute to Tito Vilanova

The Youth B team paid an emotional tribute to Tito Vilanova / PHOTO: VÍCTOR SALGADO - FCB
The Youth A team, for whom Tito Vilanova’s son plays, visited the remembrance space at the Camp Nou this morning before their game at the Ciutat Esportiva.

Amongst the many people who have visited the remembrance space for Tito Vilanova at the Camp Nou, one of the most emotional was that of Javier García Pimienta’s Youth B team, who came not just to pay their respects to an ex-first team coach, but also the father of one of their teammates, as Tito’s son Adrià is a member of the side.

The youngsters paid their respects and then travelled down to the Ciutat Esportiva, where they played a league game against Mollet. Before the game began, all the players wore a t-shirt with the message ‘Estem amb tu Adri’ – “We are with you Adri” and then observed a minute’s silence for Tito Vilanova.  The side also dedicated their 2-0 win to their teammate and his late father.