Football

Barcelona beat Villarreal to go top of La Liga

Barcelona went top of La Liga with victory over struggling Villarreal.

Gerard Pique headed in Ousmane Dembele's right-wing cross for the opening goal.

And youngster Carles Alena scored his first La Liga goal when he chipped the ball over Sergio Asenjo from Lionel Messi's through ball.

Villarreal should have led earlier on, with Gerard Moreno hitting the post after holding off Clement Lenglet.

Barca, who had several players out injured, were far from their best although Messi almost added a third late on.

Sevilla will go back to the top of La Liga if they beat fourth-placed Alaves at 19:45 GMT.

It was only a second win in five games for Barca, while Villarreal remain one place outside the relegation zone with one victory in their past eight games.

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