Messi returns with double but Barcelona lose at home to rampant Betis

Ross Houston
November 12, 2018

The loss ended an unbeaten run of 42 consecutive home games for Barcelona in the league dating back to a 2-1 defeat to Alaves on September 10, 2016.

Lionel Messi scored from the spot during the 68th minute of the game to decrease the visitor's advantage but Giovani lo Celso restored Betis' two-goal lead by scoring in the 71st minute.

Barca's record scorer was injured against Sevilla last month but the Catalans have fared well in his absence, beating Inter at home, thrashing Real Madrid 5-1 and defeating Rayo Vallecano in La Liga and edging Cultural Leonesa 1-0 in the Copa del Rey.

"We came from a run of very good games and results in which we were all playing well but we were lacking something overall (on Sunday)", said Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde. Betis, meanwhile, can toast a momentous win that lifts them up to 12th.

Ernesto Valverde's team stay top of the table but their lead is down to one point on Atletico Madrid, whom they play at the Wanda Metropolitano after the global break, and Alaves, who had beaten Huesca 2-1 in the day's early match. Espanyol can pull level on points with Barcelona if it beats Sevilla later Sunday.

A trademark dribble from Messi ended with a shot blocked by Aissa Mandi before Betis took the lead with a superb counter-attack following a Barcelona corner.

Betis started with a swagger - Joaquin blazing over after six minutes - and were rewarded in the 20th minute when Junior collected William Carvalho's pass on the left, cut inside Sergi Roberto and fired a crisp drive inside Ter Stegen's right-hand post. Two substitutes combined for a second, Munir El Haddadi laying on Vidal but no sooner had the comeback begun again, it was halted.

With less than nine minutes to the end of regulation period, Ivan Rakitic was handed marching order after receiving a second yellow to as the home team were reduced to ten men.

Lionel Messi scored his second goal from the spot during the second half stoppage time but that couldn't stop the Seville-based team from taking away the three points from the game.

Betis rose to 12th after its first win in five rounds.

Despite the injury occurring just three weeks ago, Valverde has said that there would be no risk to the Argentine if he was indeed selected to play against Betis.

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