Monday, 17 December, 2018

Barcelona 3-4 Real Betis: Leaders stunned by expert display

Credit PA Credit PA
Rita Gibson | 12 November, 2018, 12:12

Barca last endured defeat on their own patch against Alaves in September 2016 but, following 42 games unbeaten, their run was halted by a brilliant, counter-attacking display from Betis.

Though, the hosts kicked off on a high with Lionel Messi, who recently returns from injury fired a shot towards the opponent's goal but the ball failed to reach its target.

Substitute Arturo Vidal gave Barcelona hope when he made it 3-2 11 minutes from time before Ivan Rakitic was sent off for a second booking and Sergio Canales made the game safe.

Lionel Messi scored twice but he was on the losing end for Barcelona.

Barca remain top of LaLiga, but neighbours Espanyol will pull level with them on 24 points if they overcome Sevilla on Sunday.

"We want the best from every player in our team, Dembele has incredible talent and we want to help him to show it some day".

Betis' reward for beating Barca is to climb to 12th. We lack freshness when we have to finish attacks and we have to improve that.

"We have been a fearless team in every way", former Spain global Joaquin said.

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"The problem was that we did not play well, we did not control the game and we kept on making mistakes which is why we were behind at halftime", said the coach.

They seemed faster, sharper and hungrier while Barcelona's midfield was repeatedly carved open on the break. Betis, meanwhile, can toast a momentous win that lifts them up to 12th.

Barca had chances but Betis were soon pouring forward again, with Junior's cross evading everyone except Giovani Lo Celso on the opposite flank. His cute cut-back picked out veteran winger Joaquin, who stabbed in Betis' second. Luis Suarez lashed wide.

But the comeback stalled three minutes later as Betis restored their two-goal advantage.

Gio LO CELSO also scored, his was a shot which goalkeeper TER STEGEN tried to catch but it went through the hands of the German.

Barca were not done yet.

Messi added his second in injury time following a VAR referral but it wasn't enough to stop Barcelona from stumbling to defeat.

Messi's second goal of the afternoon was initially ruled out for offside before the decision was overturned by the VAR, but Betis held on for a famous victory.

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