Barcelona beat Villarreal 3-1 at La Ceramica last night. Frenkie de Jong fired the visitors into the lead in the 48th minute, only for Samuel Chukwueze to get Villarreal back on level terms in the 76th. Two late goals from Memphis Depay and Philippe Coutinho ensured Barcelona fought back, however, to secure the win.
The game was tense, and there was some controversial decisions made by the referee. Xavi and Unai Emery, the respective coaches of each club, enjoyed a frank exchange of views on the touchline throughout the 90 minutes, and Emery didn’t shake Xavi’s hand at the final whistle.
After the game, however, in their post-match press conferences, both coaches moved to cool tensions. “I have a great appreciation for Xavi,” Emery said in comments carried by Mundo Deportivo.
“We were discussing in-game moments and the lack of a handshake doesn’t mean anything. It was there anyway, without the need for it to be physical.” Xavi sang from a similar hymn sheet. “I expected the handshake, but hey, I understand the anger,” he said. “These things happen.”
The result leaves Barcelona seventh in La Liga, just three points off Atletico Madrid and the top four. The Blaugrana haven’t lost a game since Xavi took charge during the last international break. Villarreal are underperforming. Defeat leaves them 12th in the table, just five points clear of the relegation zone.