Barcelona moved five points ahead of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga with a 2-1 win over Villarreal on Saturday, thanks to a double from Brazilian star Neymar.
Madrid, meanwhile, had to fight back from 2-0 down with 10 men to rescue a point in a 2-2 draw at lowly Osasuna, in a game which saw Gareth Bale taken off.
Following on from his first Barca hat-trick in the 6-1 demolition of Celtic in midweek, Neymar made the difference once more as he converted from the spot after Mario Gaspar had blocked Jordi Alba’s cross with his hand.
Villarreal were level just three minutes after the interval when Mario Musacchio bulleted home a Manu Trigueros corner.
But Neymar had the final word as he smashed into an empty net from Alexis Sanchez’s cut-back 22 minutes from time.
“Apart from the game against Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup, where we won a trophy, this is the game that has given me most satisfaction since I took over,” said Barca boss Gerardo Martino.
Earlier, Madrid looked set for their third league defeat of the season after two headed goals from Oriol Riera put Osasuna 2-0 ahead inside 39 minutes.
Real’s task became even tougher when Sergio Ramos was sent-off for two bookable offences moments later, but Isco halved the deficit a minute before the break to give Madrid hope.
Despite being in desperate need of a goal, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti substituted the in-form Bale just 10 minutes into the second period.
But after Osasuna were also reduced to 10 men following Francisco Silva’s dismissal, Pepe headed home an equaliser 10 minutes from time.
Written by Steve Milne – Have your say below 🙂