Antoine Griezmann scored with a brilliant chip for Barcelona on Sunday to make it 1-1 to the Catalan giants against Villarreal at the Estadio de la Cerámica in La Liga.
The World Cup winner’s strike came just minutes after Samuel Chukwueze had given the hosts the lead after rounding goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and slotting into an empty net.
Barcelona’s response was quick and impressive. Center-back Oscar Mingueza played Griezmann through on goal, and the Frenchman deftly dinked the ball over goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo.
The goal takes Griezmann into double figures in La Liga for 2020-21 and means he has now scored in each of his last three games for Barcelona in all competitions.
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Griezmann at the Double
Griezmann added his second of the afternoon 10 minutes before half-time. Villarreal defender Juan Foyth gifted the Frenchman possession with a poor backpass, allowing Griezmann the simple task of stroking the ball past Asenjo.
The Villarreal goalkeeper had earlier made a brilliant save to deny Barca midfielder Frenkie de Jong the opening goal. The Dutchman looked destined to tap home a Jordi Alba cross at the far post but saw his effort parried superbly by Asenjo.
Griezmann might have had his first Barcelona hat-trick before half-time. The Frenchman was played in again at the end of the first half by Alba but saw his low shot blocked by Asenjo.
The two goals put Griezmann on 18 for the season, three more than he managed in his first campaign at the Camp Nou in 2019-20 following his big-money move from Atletico Madrid.
Griezmann in Form
There’s no doubt that Griezmann has been in form since the turn of the year for Barcelona and has played a key role in the club’s title charge.
The forward has now been involved in 22 goals in all competitions in 2021, a record bettered only by two other players.
Griezmann won his first title with Barcelona earlier this month, scoring in the Copa del Rey final win over Athletic. The 30-year-old will be hoping he can add a first La Liga title to his collection now too.
Barca’s title hopes received a boost on Saturday when title-chasing defending champions Real Madrid dropped points at home to Real Betis. The game finished 0-0 which means Barca move level on points with Real Madrid in second, with a game in hand, after going on to beat Villarreal 2-1.
Griezmann’s goals were enough to seal all three points for Koeman’s men. The Yellow Submarine’s hopes of a comeback suffered in the second half when Manu Trigueros was shown a straight red card for a poor challenge on Lionel Messi.
Barca’s win continues the brilliant form they have shown since the turn of the year which has reignited the club’s hopes of winning the title after a disappointing start to life under Koeman.
Meanwhile, Griezmann’s former team Atletico Madrid remains top of the table in Spain by two points. Diego Simeone’s men also face a tough test on Sunday, taking on Athletic Bilbao in what promises to be a tricky test for the Rojiblancos.