BARCELONA. (Reuters) – Barcelona secured a much-needed 2-1 victory at home to Villarreal in La Liga on Tuesday, racing into a two-goal lead inside 15 minutes before hanging on after Santi Cazorla halved the deficit on the stroke of halftime.
The victory was marred by the sight of Barca talisman Lionel Messi, making his first start of the season, receiving lengthy treatment for a blow to his thigh in the first period before being replaced at halftime by Ousmane Dembele.
Antoine Griezmann headed Barcelona in front after six minutes, darting in at the near post to meet a Messi corner.
Brazilian Arthur doubled the lead with a spectacular strike from distance as it appeared the Catalans would put their recent troubles behind them.
However, Cazorla’s long-range effort left home keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen red-faced as he misjudged the swerving shot to allow the visitors back into the game before Barcelona held on to move up to fourth with 10 points after six games.
(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli; Editing by Ken Ferris)