Barcelona’s emerging talent, Lamine Yamal, showcased his brilliance in a thrilling La Liga encounter as the Spanish champions triumphed 4-3 against Villarreal on Sunday.
The 16-year-old winger, making only his second start for the club, demonstrated his skills by hitting the woodwork twice and setting up Gavi for the opening goal. In the midst of a chaotic battle, Yamal’s standout performance stole the spotlight.
Veteran Polish striker Robert Lewandowski sealed the victory, netting his first goal of the season after Yamal’s powerful shot ricocheted off the post, propelling Barcelona to a provisional third place in the league standings.
Commenting on the match, Barca coach Xavi, who was serving a suspension and watching from the stands, emphasized the importance of their youth academy, particularly in light of the current economic situation. He praised Yamal, acknowledging his impactful contributions at just 16 years old. Xavi also introduced midfielder Fermin Lopez as a substitute, further emphasizing the club’s commitment to nurturing young talent.
Barcelona took an early two-goal lead against the flow of the game, despite Villarreal’s strong start. Yamal’s pinpoint cross found Gavi, a fellow academy graduate, who headed home the opening goal. Shortly thereafter, Frenkie de Jong calmly slotted in Barcelona’s second goal following a fortuitous rebound from Alfonso Pedraza’s tackle on Lewandowski.
Although missing injured players Pedri and Alejandro Balde, Barcelona faced a resilient Villarreal side that managed to mount a comeback. Juan Foyth’s powerful header from Alex Baena’s corner marked the first goal Barcelona conceded in the season. Villarreal’s momentum continued as Alexander Sorloth tapped in a goal from Pedraza’s cross, facilitated by a skillful pass from Gerard Moreno.
Villarreal seized the lead early in the second half as Pedraza’s impressive play set up Baena for a clinical finish. Barcelona’s captain, Sergi Roberto, struggled in the right-back position, highlighting the team’s need for reinforcements.
Yamal relentlessly challenged Villarreal’s defense, striking the crossbar with a determined effort. Substitute Ferran Torres, who had been displaying strong form in pre-season, equalized for Barcelona before Lewandowski secured the lead once more. Yamal’s relentless drive resulted in a powerful shot that hit the post, only for Lewandowski to capitalize on the rebound.
Lewandowski had a chance to seal the game in stoppage time but chose to shoot rather than pass to Ansu Fati, who was in a supporting position. Torres expressed his contentment with his contribution, emphasizing the often unnoticed “invisible work” he does on the field.
Yamal’s outstanding performance, stepping in for the suspended Raphinha, undoubtedly presents a selection dilemma for coach Xavi when Raphinha returns. Reflecting on the match, Villarreal’s Foyth acknowledged the need for improvement when defending against teams that score four goals.
In a dynamic and intense match, Barcelona’s young talent Yamal emerged as a standout performer, leaving a lasting impression on both fans and critics alike.