Barcelona bounces Betis and goes eight points ahead of Real
Barcelona beat Real Betis on the road on Wednesday night. The result, a victory on the road against a team competing for European qualification, is a huge boost for Xavi’s team. The match was tight, however, as it was between the two in January’s Supercopa de España semi-final.
Barcelona came into the game with a five-point cushioning from Real Madrid. Therefore, this match offered the Catalan club a chance for more space between the two rivals. Barcelona took advantage.
Barcelona was the better side for much of the game. Gavi, now officially registered as a first-team player with number 6, got along well with Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets in midfield. Although Barcelona, as usual, held most of the ball, Betis prevented scoring in the first half. Similarly, Barcelona negated any sniff of its own goal from Betis.
In the second half, however, the game went wild. That goes for both the scoresheet and the controversy.
Barcelona and Betis warm up to drama
Despite Barcelona looking dominant for the first hour of the game, one player seemed out of place. Raphinha, unfortunately without form and confidence, never seemed to master the game.
Then, in the 65th minute, Alejandro Balde provided the antidote by tapping the Brazilian to open the match. However, the start of the move to Barcelona sparked serious anger from Betis and its supporters. A foul on Gavi stopped play, but the ball rolled away from the spot of the foul. Frenkie de Jong, ever the opportunist, started playing quickly and shot a ball down the wing to Balde. But when De Jong took the free kick, he was more than 10 meters from where Gavi went down first.
Robert Lewandowski took some of the steam out of the game with a goal in the 80th minute. In true goalscorer style, the Poland international stumbled on a loose ball from a corner and stopped it past Real Betis goalkeeper Rui Silva.
However, Betis was not done yet. Still angry about the referee’s decisions not going as planned, Betis pushed forward. In the 85th minute, Betis forced the ball over the line for a goal. Youssof Salaby launched a searching ball from the right. Jules Koundé, working as a Barcelona right-back, had the ball in goal. The Frenchman was simply not prepared for the ball to come this far.
A key win
The halving of the deficit by Betis certainly made the last 10 minutes exciting. Barcelona held onto victory through a wave of whistling supporters. It is the team’s fourth straight win by one goal. The previous three were all 1-0 shutouts.
Barcelona flies halfway through the domestic season. Fifty points, two draws and one loss are enough to be ahead of Real Madrid. Promised, Los Blancos played one game less than Barcelona. Yet Barcelona has the most goals and by far the fewest goals against. Barcelona has conceded seven goals in 19 games. Three of these were the club’s only defeat of the season against Real Madrid.
Real Madrid will play tomorrow ESPN+, while Barcelona’s next game is a home game against a struggling Sevilla side. Betis will try to get back into shape on Sunday when they host Celta Vigo.
PHOTO: IMAGO / CordonPress
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