Barcelona started their title defense with a bang, dominating Real Betis at Camp Nou en route to an easy 6-2 victory, thanks to goals from Arda Turan, Lionel Messi (2) and Luis Suárez (3), with Rubén Castro (2) scoring for Betis. The Blaugrana played great football throughout the match, and had zero trouble picking up three points in exciting fashion.
The champions were dominating from the start, having possession and moving well to find spaces and create chances. Jordi Alba started for the first time this season and was fantastic, always providing width and making great overlapping runs on the left side. After just five minutes, one of his runs was picked up by Messi with a great ball, and Alba served Arda Turan for the opener.
There was a little anxious moment when Betis equalized through a spectacular goal by Rubén Castro on a free-kick, but the Blaugrana continued to control the match and easily break down Betis' defense. Refere Undiano Mallenco somehow missed a clear penalty on Luis Suárez, but that didn't stop Barça from attacking and scoring goals.
Messi was amazing as usual in the first period, and he scored a beautiful goal with a rocket from outside the box to put Barça ahead once again. A few minutes later Leo found Sergi Roberto, who found Suárez inside the box, and the Uruguayan finished with ease to score the third.
At halftime, a sublime performance from the whole team, and a comfortable lead on the match. Game over? Maybe with another goal or two in the second half.
Barça began the second half at an insane pace, running at Betis with intensity, looking to end the game in the early minutes of the final period. Messi was ohterworldly, first with an assist to Suárez in a counter-attacking masterpiece from the Catalans, and then running through the defense and firing a shot past the keeper to the bottom corner. After just 12 minutes of the second half, the score was 5-1.
With such a giant, comfortable lead in the game, there was no reason to push for more and risk injuries or dumb bookings. Barça maintained possession and didn't allow Betis any chance of troubling Bravo, who probably took a nap in the second half.
But the Catalans are so good that they score without trying, and Luis Suárez made it SIX with a magnificent free-kick into the top corner, completing his first hat-trick of the season. Betis still scored another with Rubén Castro, but there was no chance his team was coming back in the game.
In the end, a breathtaking performance, a blowout victory and a very exciting start to what could be a great season.
Barcelona: Bravo | Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba (Digne) | Busquets, Rakitic, Denis (Munir) | Messi, Suárez, Arda
Goals: Arda (6'), Messi (37', 57'), Suárez (42', 56', 82')
Real Betis: Adán | Cejudo, Bruno, Mandi, Pezzella, Durmisi | Petros (Ruiz), Jonas (Dani Ceballos), Felipe (Musonda) | Sanabria, Rubén Castro
Goal: Rubén Castro (21' 84')