La Liga: FC Barcelona 3-1 Real Betis: Match Review

David Ramos

A review of Barcelona's cagey 3-1 win over Real Betis. A brace from Leo Messi and a Jordi Figuerasi was enough to earn Barça the three points.

Sandwiched in-between the Atlético Champions League ties, this game looked like a good chance for rotation but Tata Martino didn't agree and fielded a near full-strength side.


Barcelona

Real Betis

Possession

66%

34%

Total Shots

12

12

Shots on Target

4

4

Pass Accuracy

85%

70%

Corners

4

4

Fouls

9

14

Offsides

5

0

Yellow Cards

0

2

Red Cards

0

0

The game started brightly for Betis as they earned themselves a corner following a block from Marc Bartra. It came to nothing but it showed a positive attitude from the team at the bottom of La Liga. Soon after though it was Barça who were knocking at the door.

A fairly calm Camp Nou crowd were enjoying their time in the Spanish sun as Xavi picked up the ball just off the halfway line. With great vision, he picked out the charging Alexis Sánchez. The Chilean controlled well but didn't spot the run of Pedro, who had covered a lot of ground on the left wing. Alexis opted for a shot on goal when a square pass would have surely seen the first but Barça came close in the resultant corner.

The ball was whipped in and met by the head of Marc Bartra. His header was saved and there was very audible crash with the post. After a couple of seconds, Bartra returned to his feet and returned to defence having nearly opened the scoring.

It was not long before the scoring was eventually opened. In the 15th minute, Alexis broke into the box and tried to skill his way into a good crossing opportunity. A step-over here and a shimmy there was enough for Jordi Figueras to tap the winger's ankles. After some deliberation, referee Prieto Iglesias pointed to the spot. Lionel Messi, who had been quiet so far, stepped up and slotted the ball past Antonio Adán.

Betis though still looked in the game and were enjoying good spells of possession. This retaining of the ball eventually led to a chance for Cedrick Mabwati. The Congolese player fired a shot towards goal but it was save by Victor Valdés' deputy José Manuel Pinto. For Barcelona, Alexis looked lively but didn't always seem to be on the same wavelength as Messi.

On the other wing, Pedro had managed to break clear of the defence and was in a perfect crossing opportunity. His low driven ball just missed Sánchez and looked to be falling kindly at the feet of Dani Alves. The ball though was knicked away by a Betis defender and Alves was shocked to see a goal kick given.

A couple of half chances came for both sides and with Betis by no means out of it, the teams went in at half time with the score at 1-0.

As they did in the first half, Betis started the second half very well and the calm attitude of the Camp Nou crowd turned into a nervous one. Barcelona were looking for the next goal to ease any worries and Xavi came the closest during the opening stages. A free kick just on the edge of the area was curled over the top of the wall by the captain. Adán stood helpless but the bar denied Xavi and Barcelona the second goal of the game.

The Betis pressure was building and in the 58th minute, Álvaro Vadillo was in an almost identical situation to Pedro in the first half. But Vadillo opted for a lofted cross which went too high and the danger was gone.

Six minutes later though, the danger was back. N'diaye saw his shot tipped over by Pinto and the resultant corner did eventually find the shot taker again. This time though he couldn't get the ball out from under his feet and Dani Alves slid to clear the ball.

Betis were looking dangerous and Barça really needed another goal. In the 66th minute, they did look like they were going to score it through Andrés Iniesta. The Barça number eight had a sight of an open goal but Figuerasi produced an excellent tackle to deny him.

Barça were not left wanting for too much longer as Betis were dreadfully unlucky to see another ball go into their net. Adriano looked to pick out Pedro and the man who gave away the penalty in the first half, Figuerasi slid to intercept the ball. What looked a perfect challenge turned into a nightmare when the ball left Adán wrong footed as it rolled into the net.

Betis though weren't eager to admit defeat and one minute later they had pulled one back. Substitute Ruben Castro was found N'diaye and after a couple of poor challenges from the Barça defence, he slotted the ball past Pinto.

Barcelona looked set for a nervy twenty minutes and Tata Martino looked to his bench. Neymar and Fàbregas entered the fray and the former was the key man in scoring Barça's third. His cross was deflected by Juanfran's arm and the referee gave a harsh penalty to Barça. Messi stepped up agin but this time his shot was saved by Adán. Messi got to the rebound and fired towards goal, Adán again saved but the ball did find the net eventually.

Barcelona saw out the game at 3-1 and can now look to the midweek tie against Atlético. Not exactly a five star performance from the team but they get the result they needed.

Roll Call:

Roll Call Info
Total comments 526
Total commenters 31
Commenter list 90terps, AL_LM10, Anders Thomassen, Barcacatalunya, Barcathebest360, BenX6, Daxterflames, Eddie Pundell, FCB4Ever, FCBMessi, Giancarlo8, Harshiv Karia, LaSenyera, Luis Mazariegos, NoImagination90, RexRegum, Ricardo Blonde, Richzorz, Ruy Diaz, Sam Cooper, Som-i-Serem, Tokjee, TopGun1903, Uncharted_Almo, barca96, craig00000, cule-since-1992, fcb123, feeya7, rnmrqz, syredeathtrooper
# Commenter # Comments
1 Barcacatalunya 99
2 NoImagination90 91
3 Anders Thomassen 38
4 Daxterflames 37
5 feeya7 34
6 Uncharted_Almo 31
7 cule-since-1992 23
8 craig00000 22
9 Tokjee 19
10 rnmrqz 17

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