Villarreal were defeated 2-0 by Barcelona today at the Ceramica in a match marked, yet again, by questionable refereeing. Dani Raba was sent off for a straight red on Busquets after the hour mark with the match still scoreless and after that a Barca win was more-or-less inevitable, and was duly supplied from goals by Luis Suarez and Leo Messi. As for Busquets, he should have been sent off himself for a second bookable offense, but (of course) wasn’t.
With a makeshift lineup, Villarreal were always going to be struggling to maintain parity in this one, but could have taken the lead if not for a linesman’s erroneous flag—Roberto Soriano had timed his run perfectly and was easily onside, would have been one-on-one with ter Stegen, but the flag went up. The sort of call that always seems to go against someone playing the big two.
At halftime it was still 0-0, and you had the feeling that maybe Barca were just a bit off—Piqué had hit the post early from a header, but Messi and Suarez had put good chances wide. However, Raba’s unjustified expulsion put pay to that. Yes, his studs were up but there was no follow-through—it should have been a yellow. The ref didn’t see it at all but was fooled by Busquets writhing as if he’d had his leg broken—there was hardly any contact.
Other bad news for Villarreal was that Cedric Bakambu picked up a yellow for protesting Raba’s red, so misses the next match against Celta, and Ruben Semedo, returning after a long injury layoff and playing in midfield, was injured again and had to be substituted just after halftime.
Highlights are here.