Villarreal gave Barcelona everything that they could handle at the Camp Nou on Saturday but it still wasn't quite enough to defeat the Blaugrana. Neymar's first half penalty and second half strike was the difference as Barcelona remained undefeated at home in league play this season.
Alex Song got Barca's first great chance of the match in the sixth minute. The defensible midfielder chested down the ball at the far post and hammered it off the post from a big bounce off the grass.
In the 15th minute, Giovani Dos Santos raced past Barcelona defense, pulled the ball back across to Javier Aquino but the fellow Mexican international couldn't get to the ball cleanly. Rather than controlling the pass, Aquino was only able to get a touch on it, slowing it down enough for Barcelona to boot it out of danger.
Villarreal's defense played extremely well in the first half, cutting off Barca's passing lanes in the final third and forcing turnovers. All that work was undone in the 29th minute when Mario Gaspar was called for a rather harsh handball in the box, giving Barca a penalty. Neymar stepped up to the spot and made a stuttering approach before driving a low, hard shot to the left past Sergio Asenjo.
Villarreal roared back early in the second half when Mateo Musacchio got in front of Marc Bartra and drove a powerful header off José Manuel Pinto's hand to even the match at 1-1. It was a perfect combination of excellent finishing from Musacchio and some extremely poor marking from the young Blaugrana defender. Manu Trigueros got the assist with the corner.
Despite a Herculean effort from Asenjo to keep the match knotted at a goal apiece, Barcelona's patience and persistence finally paid off in the 68th minute. The play started when Cesc Fàbregas lifted a ball over the defense to Alexis Sánchez at the far post. The Chilean chested the ball down but rather than trying to rush a shot, he centered to Neymar on the other side of Asenjo for the easy tap-in to put the home side back in front 2-1.
Neymar did pick-up a yellow card in the 85th minute, which will keep him out of the next league match against Getafe.
Barcelona: Pinto, Montoya, Piqué, Bartra, Alba, Busquets, Song (Xavi 62'), Iniesta, Alexis (Pedro 84'), Neymar, Fàbregas (Roberto 87')
Goals: Neymar (30', 68')
Villarreal: Asenjo, Mario, Musacchio, Dorado, Jaume, Pina, Pérez (Jokic 70'), Trigueros, Aquino (Jonathan 75'), Edu Ramos (Uche 64'), Dos Santos
Goals: Musacchio (48')