Lionel Messi steals the show as Barcelona return to winning ways in La Liga,
thanks to a Lionel Messi-inspired 5-2 victory at home to Real Betis.
Ronald Koeman’s side had picked up just two points from a possible 12 heading into
this clash, but a dominant performance against Manuel Pellegrini’s visitors secured a timely three points.
Barcelona and Real Betis locked horns at the Camp Nou in an exciting La Liga encounter.
In a captivating encounter, Barcelona recorded a thumping 5-2 victory and returned to winning ways
domestically, as Lionel Messi came on as a substitute and stole the show.
In a shocking turn of events, the Argentine was surprisingly left on the bench by Barcelona manager Ronald
Koeman. Lionel Messi was reportedly nursing a minor injury and was not risked by the Dutchman. Nevertheless,
Ousmane Dembele opened the scoring for Barcelona in the 22nd minute, as he put the finishing touches
to a pass from Antoine Griezmann.
Griezmann then went from hero to villain quickly, as he missed a penalty to put Barcelona 2-0 ahead.
At the stroke of the half time whistle, the Catalan giants were punished for the missed penalty,
as Antonio Sarabia scored the equalizer for Real Betis.
Betis had threatened before the goal and the penalty miss with William Cavalho’s header saved by
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
They responded to going behind with Guido Rodriguez’s pass sending Alex Moreno down the left.
He crossed and Cristian Tello shot over.
That pattern of attacking was repeated for the equalizer just before the break. Tello, another playing against
his old team was played down the left by Sergio Canales, and his cross was converted by Toni Sanabria,
It was the Paraguayan second goal in a week, for a season spent at Barça B in 2013 he was restrained
in his celebration.
The goal was well-timed sending Barcelona in at the break on level terms despite having dominated.
Lionel Messi came off the bench for Barcelona at the interval, as he replaced Ansu Fati for the second 45 minutes.
The Argentine maestro showed his class in the second half and won the game for his side with a match-winning performance.
After Griezmann made amends for his penalty miss, Messi got his name on the scoresheet twice, as he finally
scored his first open play goal of the season. Barcelona scored four goals in the second half,
while Betis pulled one back through Loren Moron.
Sergi Roberto added gloss to the scoreline with a late fifth goal, as Lionel Messi once again played his hand in
the goal with an assist. The Argentine was benched, but Koeman’s decision was vindicated in some style,
as the Barcelona icon came off the bench to inspire his side to victory.