Real Betis 2-3 Barcelona: 3 Talking Points from the game | La Liga 19/20
Real Betis hosted Barcelona at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on the 23rd matchday of La Liga as the visitors were looking to bounce back from the loss they suffered at the hands of Athletic Club Bilbao in the quarter-final of the Copa del Rey.
The match started with a bang as the hosts won a penalty in the 5th minute after Clement Lenglet blocked a shot with his hand and Sergio Canales gave Betis the early advantage, making no mistake from 12 yards.
Right after that, the visitors equalised, courtesy Frenkie de Jong, who was found beautifully by Lionel Messi. But Betis weren't having any of that as Nabil Fekir gave the home side the lead again, thanks to a brilliant finish into the bottom right corner with his left foot.
Betis were on top after taking the lead as they were cutting Barcelona open at will but they didn't take their chances and Barcelona, just before half-time, equalised again with Sergio Busquets finding the back of the net.
In the second period, Barcelona were so much better, creating a host of chances and they were looking like the most likely team to take the lead. Eventually, Lenglet's header gave the visitors the lead for the first time in the match, before him and Fekir were sent off.
In the end, the Blaugrana held on and won the match 3-2, which meant they are now three points behind the league leaders Real Madrid.
Here, we are going to take a look at the three talking points from the game.
#3 Barcelona playing out from the back and Real Betis' brilliant pressing
In the first half, Barcelona were the architects of their own downfall as they were, quite unnecessarily, playing out from the back, when Betis were pressing very high.
The hosts' collective high press caused a lot of problems for the visitors at the back and both goals that Betis scored on the day, could have been easily prevented.
Even after conceding those goals, Barcelona didn't learn and they were literally just handing Betis brilliant opportunities to score in the first period.
If the hosts would have taken their chances, the match could have been done at half-time but that didn't happen and in the end, Betis were made to pay for their lack of potency in front of goal.
#2 Nabil Fekir's brilliant first-half performance and Antoine Griezmann's dismal show
Nabil Fekir stole the show for Real Betis in the first half as he was playing on a different wavelength compared to others. Some of the skills and passes he pulled off were absolutely incredible.
His goal was beautifully taken as the 26-year-old ran at the Barcelona defense before drilling his shot into the bottom corner. Fekir had the Blaugrana defense on strings on Sunday night but his red card towards the end left a sour taste.
In stark contrast, Fekir's compatriot, Antoine Griezmann had another forgettable night in a Blaugrana shirt as the Frenchman did next to nothing throughout the match. He has now gone 5 league games without scoring and right now, he looks a shadow of himself.
#1 Barcelona churn out a huge win
This is a game Barcelona simply had to win, especially after Real Madrid defeated Osasuna on Sunday. This win keeps the Blaugrana on the second position, just three points behind Zinedine Zidane's in-form Madrid.
The visitors weren't at their best against Real Betis but it was a win that showed why they are the defending La Liga champions. It was another performance that was driven by Lionel Messi as the little Argentine gave three assists on the day, which has taken his tally of assists to 11 in the Spanish league this season.
Furthermore, another positive for Quique Setien was Frenkie de Jong's performance at the heart of the Barcelona midfield as he looked in sublime touch against Betis.
All in all, it was win that the Blaugrana needed, quite badly.Published 10 Feb 2020, 06:33 IST