Barcelona Back To Winnings Ways With Hard-Fought Victory Over Real Betis

Ross Houston
February 14, 2020

The Argentina global set up Frenkie de Jong with a pinpoint chipped pass over the Betis defence to equalise after Betis had taken the lead through a Sergio Canales penalty.

The Spanish champions won 3-2 at the Benito Villamarin in a thrilling match the official seemed to lose control of, sending off Clement Lenglet and Nabil Fekir but not dismissing Sergi Roberto or awarding Lionel Messi a penalty. Frenkie de Jong caught a long pass from Messi on his chest before slotting it into the net.

Messi hit back at Barca sporting director Abidal, telling him to name names after the Frenchman suggested some players had downed tools to get former manager Ernesto Valverde sacked last month.

Since bagging 10 goals and securing 14 assists in a Primera Division season for the first time in the 2007-08 season, the 32-year-old has only failed to tally double figures in both categories once, in the 2016-17 season.

Messi proved pivotal in the Catalans levelling right before halftime, delivering a free kick into the path of Sergio Busquets who converted from close range.

Sergio Busquets scored Barcelona's second goal in the injury time of the first half. The six-time Ballon d'Or victor has now bagged 15 assists this season along with 19 goals in 26 appearances.

"When you see it, you wonder how it could be that it's not a yellow card".

Former La Liga and Federation Internationale de Football Association referee Eduardo Iturralde believes Lenglet was lucky to be on the pitch for that long.

"It's a clear goalscoring opportunity".

'This is a hugely significant win for us because Betis are a great team and were being roared on by their fans at home, Barca coach Setien told a news conference.

Setien added: "This is a very important victory because it keeps us near the top of the table and it will give us a huge psychological boost".

Gareth Bale returned to the starting line-up after four matches out of the squad and a fortuitous deflection meant he assisted Isco's equaliser after Unai Garcia had given Osasuna a surprise lead.

"It was an important game for us", Vazquez said. "But we showed that we want to fight to win every other competition we are left in".

Instead, Barca turned the tide, with a chaotic performance that might have been punished by better opponents, but that keeps it three points behind Real Madrid.

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