Yellow Submarine sink Barça to claim UECL place
Goals either side of HT from Alfonso Pedraza and Moi Gómez saw Villarreal condemn Barcelona to a first final day La Liga defeat since 2006, and secure a UEFA Europa Conference League (UECL) place.
With nothing to play for and second place secured in La Liga, Barcelona had a pressure-free task of squaring off against a Villarreal side looking to secure UECL football for next season.
Considering the fact that the Catalan giants hadn’t lost to the ‘Yellow Submarine’ since March 2008 ahead of this fixture, Villarreal had a mountain of a task ahead. As a half of little chances came to a close, however, it was the visitors who took the lead completely against the run of play, with Alfonso Pedraza bursting in behind ahead of Adama Traoré, before firing past a helpless Marc-André ter Stegen to take Barcelona’s tally to four games when it comes to trailing at HT in La Liga this season – their worst record since 2003/04.
Come the second half, it was once again Barcelona pushing forward, with Villarreal sitting deep in an attempt to protect their lead. That attempt could have ended in failure right away, however, when Moi Gómez’s trip on Torres initially led to the awarding of a penalty, before VAR corrected the decision, giving a free-kick on the edge of the area. It was a decision that would prove costly, with Gómez taking advantage of Traoré’s pass across the face of his own goal to comfortably slam home for 2-0 at the other end.
Following the second goal, the game fell back into the tempo of attack versus defence, and this would have gave Barcelona a route back into proceedings if it wasn’t for the linesman’s offside flag to rule out substitute Ansu Fati’s goal, which saw him round Rulli and finish after the goalkeeper had palmed away an initial effort. Riding their luck with the offside decision, Villarreal held on for their first win against Barcelona for 27 games to secure a UECL place for next season.