La Liga Round-Up
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Jose Mari had given the hosts a deserved lead five minutes before half time but Patrick Kluivert looked to have rescued a point for the battling visitors who fought back in the second half only for Anderson to pop up and settle the match in spectacular style.
Villarreal started brightly and ripped into Barca's shaky defence at every opportunity, with former Camp Nou striker Sonny Anderson going close early on.
The former Lyon man was sent clean through but his effort was well saved by Jose Reina.
Juan Roman Riquelme was the final Barca connection in the Villarreal side as he is currently on loan from Camp Nou, and he was a major threat to his employers all night.
Riquelme tested keeper Victor Valdes early on with a free kick before curling a shot just wide moments later, and he went close from the edge of the box on a couple of occasions in the second half.
The breakthrough came for the hosts five minutes before half time when Jose Mari got the final touch on a header to divert the ball over Valdes.
The hosts deserved their lead but they could not build on that in the second half and Frank Rijkaard's side came back strongly and eventually drew level when Patrick Kluivert pounced on a save from Reina to slot home.
Barca's comeback looked to have grabbed them a deserved point but for former star Anderson to come back to haunt them with a fine winner in the final minute.
Juliano Balletti swung in a superb cross and Anderson launched himself in front of his man to guide his diving header into the far corner to send the Estadio El Madrigal crowd wild.
Deportivo La Coruna missed the chance to stretch their lead at the top of the table after they were held to a 0-0 draw at Real Betis.
The point means that they are just three points ahead of Valencia and Real Madrid but it could have been worse had Jose Francisco Molina not saved a Fernando penalty in Seville.
Real Sociedad continue to struggle perilously close to the relegation zone in an amazing downturn in fortunes after they came so close to lifting the title last term.
Mallorca visited the Anoeta and came away with all three points thanks to a goal from Cameroon marksman Samuel Eto'o to ease their own fears and move above Sociedad.