16-year-old Lamal helps Barcelona fight back for win at Villarreal
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Teenager Yamine Lamal helped Barcelona fight back to win a 4-3 thriller at Villarreal in the Spanish league on Sunday.
The 16-year-old forward set up Gavi Páez's opening goal for Barcelona, hit the woodwork twice and played a key role in Robert Lewandowski's winning goal as an entertaining game finished in the visitors’ favor.
After he caught the eye of Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández while playing for the club’s youth sides, Lamal became the youngest player to appear for Barcelona in April when he was 15 years, 9 months, 16 days. Last weekend he became the youngest player to start for Barcelona in its win over Cadiz.
Lamal delivered a cross for Gavi on Sunday to head home at the far post and kick off the scoring fest in the 12th minute. Frenkie de Jong then doubled the lead three minutes later.
Villarrreal roared back in style. Juan Foyth headed in a corner kick by Álex Baena in the 26th. Alexander Sorloth tapped in a squared pass from Alfonso Pedraza in the 40th, and Baena curled in a pass from Pedraza in the 50th to put the hosts in front 3-2.
But Lamal helped Barcelona dig in and get the win that kept them two points behind leader Real Madrid.
Lamal went close to scoring in the 57th when he hit the post.
After substitute Ferran Torres put in his own rebound to level the score, Lamal dribbled past his marker and unleashed a low shot that goalkeeper Filip Jorgensen did well to send off his post. The rebound fell right to Lewandowski for him to push in for his first goal of the season.