Barcelona were on the verge of a shock defeat to relegation-threatened Villarreal after allowing four unanswered goals Tuesday, but Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored in the dying minutes to preserve a dramatic 4-4 draw.
Messi came off the bench to uncork a ridiculous free-kick in the 90th minute, and Suarez's low drive two minutes later sunk Villarreal's hopes of an unexpected win.
Their late heroics prevented Barcelona's first league loss since November, but the draw still allowed Atletico Madrid - who beat Girona earlier in the day - to move within eight points of the league leaders.
Messi, Ivan Rakitic, and Gerard Pique were all rested for the encounter, and it seemed like Barcelona wouldn't have any difficulties without them. Philippe Coutinho and Malcom each scored within the first 20 minutes of play, but 19-year-old Samuel Chukwueze responded quickly to halve Barcelona's advantage.
Villarreal striker Karl Toko Ekambi equalized shortly after the interval, and the hosts took the lead when midseason signing Vicente Iborra ran on to a defense-splitting pass and slotted home in the 62nd minute. Carlos Bacca then finished off a swift counterattack in the 80th minute to give Villarreal a two-goal lead.
However, Barcelona weren't going gentle into that good night. Messi converted his sixth free-kick in La Liga this season before Suarez salvaged the point for the Blaugrana.