FC Barcelona continued their winning ways with a 3-2 comeback victory against Real Betis. It was another wild one for the team that is still in the Copa del Rey after winning a match 5-3 despite being 0-2 down until almost the 89th minute.
In addition, Barcelona had to come back from 0-1 down to win 2-1 against Rayo Vallecano and overcome an own goal equalizer to beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 in recent weeks.
It was another fun yet frustrating performance, losing control too easily but creating lots of chances. This team still gives up too many soft goals, and can go large stretches seemingly unable to get out of first gear. And there are moments where they are so in sync you wonder if anyone can stop them. Matches are becoming emotional rollercoasters.
With a goal from Lionel Messi off the substitute bench, a fortunate own goal after a a bad finish from Antoine Griezmann, and Francisco Trincão’s first goal for Barcelona, the Catalans overcame a Betis side that competed for 90 minutes.
At the beginning of the season, it seemed that Barcelona would crumble if they encountered headwinds. A goal from an ill-timed mistake - of which there were plenty - and the team lost confidence and retreated.
Now, the mistakes are still there, especially for a defense still hampered by the absences of both its top right-backs (Sergiño Dest and Sergi Roberto) as well as arguably their best two central defenders (Gerard Piqué and Ronald Araújo). On the other hand, Messi and Griezmann seem to have rediscovered their usual shooting form (Griezmann’s bad miss against Betis notwithstanding).
How long can this be kept up? It’s hard to say, but it’s probably not likely that the team can continue to rely on last-gasp heroics. But the mentality of the team has improved, which bodes well for the future.