Barcelona are back in second place in the La Liga table and have extended their unbeaten run to 11 games, making it six wins in a row thanks to a wild 3-2 victory over Real Betis in Seville. Barça played a poor first half and had to come from behind, but played some great stuff and showed excellent spirit in the second half to find the goals and win again, with Lionel Messi and Francisco Trincão coming off the bench to lead the Blaugrana to three huge points.
Barça started the game with some bad news as Ronald Araujo suffered an injury just 10 minutes into the half, being replaced by Frenkie De Jong who had to play as a central defender.
The Blaugrana simply could not get into the game and the midfield struggled to get hold of the ball and find the forward players, who themselves didn’t offer much in terms of movement and the Betis defense didn’t have much to worry about.
Barça did create one great chance after a short corner and a beautiful cross from Jordi Alba to find Clément Lenglet all alone in the six-yard box, but the Frenchman somehow missed his header wide. Not long after that, Betis had their one big chance of the half and scored it, after a fantastic counter-attack ended with a great cross from Emerson and a solid finish by Borja Iglesias.
At halftime, a lackluster Barça were behind and needed to play a lot better in the second half to come up with enough offense to mount a comeback.
Ronald Koeman brought on Pedri, Messi and Trincão in the opening minutes of the second half, and the trio made a big impact for Barça. The Blaugrana were more intense in their pressing and looked more dangerous with the ball, and they started finding spaces that weren’t there in the first half.
The equalizer came with 30 minutes to go after Lionel Messi fired a rocket into the bottom corner just two minutes after coming on, and Messi was involved again as Barça took the lead on a weird own goal by Víctor Ruíz. Barça couldn’t protect their lead for much longer and Víctor Ruíz redeemed himself with a powerful header from a set piece.
After scoring their second Betis came close to finding the back of the net again, but Marc-André ter Stegen made a couple of really important saves. As we entered the final five minutes it looked as though we were set for a draw, but Francisco Trincão recovered a ball at the edge of the box and scored a beauty with his left foot to win it for the visitors.
The final whistle came to end another highly entertaining clash between Barça and Betis, with the Blaugrana once again showing great spirit and mounting a comeback on the road. The defending is bad at times, but the fight is impressive.
Real Betis: Robles; Emerson, Mandi, Ruíz, Moreno; Akouokou, Guardado; Ruibal (Rodri 65’), Fekir (Canales 82’), Juanmi (Tello 76’); Iglesias (Loren 82’)
Goals: Iglesias (38’), Ruíz (75’)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo (De Jong 11’), Lenglet, Alba; Pjanic (Trincão 57’), Busquets (Umtiti 77’), Puig (Messi 57’); Dembélé, Griezmann, Braithwaite (Pedri 46’)
Goals: Messi (59’), Ruíz (68’ OG), Trincão (87’)