By G9ija

Lionel Messi came off the bench to help La Liga leaders Barcelona fight back to draw 4-4 with Villarreal in a thrilling game.

Barca led 2-0 through Philippe Coutinho and Malcom, who scored in the 12th and 16th minutes respectively.

But Super Eagles forward Samuel Chukwueze scored for Villarreal, followed by goals from Karl Toko Ekambi, Vicente Iborra and Carlos Bacca as the hosts went 4-2 up.

Villarreal had Alvaro Gonzalez sent off and Barca took advantage with substitute Messi’s 90th-minute free-kick and Luis Suarez’s injury-time equaliser.

With the result, Barca are eight points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Both table toppers go head to head on Saturday in a La Liga battle at Camp Nou.