Barcelona are finally back to the winning ways in La Liga thanks to a highly entertaining 5-2 win over Real Betis at Camp Nou. Barça played well for 90 minutes and created a bunch of chances, missed a lot of them early on, and then Lionel Messi came on as a substitute to score twice and lead the Blaugrana to a big victory.
Barça made a really good start to the game, allowing Betis to have more of the ball while looking to stay solid at the back and be dangerous on the counter. The plan worked: Ousmane Dembélé was a terror on the right, Pedri found pockets of space on the left to create chances, and Ansu Fati looked comfortable and dangerous at the striker position.
Then there was Antoine Griezmann, who missed three golden chances early on before giving Dembélé an assist for what was an amazing strike and the opening goal. Then Ansu Fati won a penalty, which Griezmann missed, and the Frenchman had wasted four really good opportunities in the half.
And right before halftime, Barça paid for their missed chances: Cristian Tello played a cross fromt he left, no defender could clear it and Antonio Sanabria equalized for the visitors.
At halftime, Barça were playing well but couldn’t take their chances, and what should be an easy win was a nervous game going into the second half.
Ronald Koeman decided to rest Lionel Messi for the start of this game, but brought him on at halftime to help Barça achieve the victory. And Messi was amazing, creating chance after chance for himself and others and scoring twice, first on a penalty, then on his first goal from open play this season after a great assist by Sergi Roberto.
Messi’s best contribution, however, was a GENIUS dummy to take three defenders completely out of the play and give Griezmann a tap-in. Pedri also joined the scoring party later on, and Loren scored for Betis in the middle of the second half to make it a highly entertaining final period. The final whistle came to end an excellent performance from Barça and a big win against a good team.
This team gives me no reason to be hopeful for an kind of consistency after this game, but it’s certainly a fun way to go into the international break.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Dembélé (Trincão 66’), Busquets (Pjanic 86’), De Jong, Pedri; Griezmann (Braithwaite 78’), Fati (Messi 46’)
Goals: Dembélé (22’), Griezmann (49’), Messi (61’ pen., 82’), Pedri (90’)
Real Betis: Bravo; Emerson, Mandi, Bartra, Moreno; William, Rodríguez; Joaquín (Ruibal 62’), Canales (Rodri 86’), Tello (Ruiz 62’); Sanabria (Loren 71’)
Goals: Sanabria (45’+2), Loren (73’)