An inspired Betis took all three points at the Camp Nou with goals from Junior, Joaquín, Lo Celso and Canales, despite Barça fighting to the end.
Barcelona vs Betis match report:
Real Betis recorded their first victory in the Camp Nou in two decades in a seven-goal thriller against league leaders Barcelona which ended 4-3 to the visitors.
With Barcelona struggling to deal with the rampant Betis counter attack, the visitors were 2-0 up by the break, thanks to goals from Junior and Joaquin. The first came in the 20th minute: Carvalho played a beautiful pass from the centre to release Junior down the left, who had just Sergi Roberto to beat. He shifted the ball onto his right foot just inside the box and launched it past Ter Stegen to put Betis 1-0 up.
Joaquin’s goal in the 34th minute also came from a quick and deadly counter attacking move. Betis found themselves with five attackers on four defenders as they rushed towards the Barca box. Carvalho again found Junior in space down the left. His low cross into the box was picked up by Tello on the right, who squared it to Joaquin by the penalty spot and the 37-year-old slotted it into the bottom left corner. Quique Setien’s gameplan seemed to be working to a tee, as the visitors strolled in at the break perhaps as surprised as everybody by the scoreline.
Barcelona, understandably, began the second half playing with a sense of urgency, and piled the pressure on Betis. The pressure finally paid off in the 67th minute when Jordi Alba won a penalty, which Messi drove into the top right corner, and Barca were back in the game. As Barca threw caution to the wind in search of goals, Betis continued to create chances on the counter attack, and again put two goals between them and the hosts just four minutes after Messi’s penalty. Tello set up Lo Celso, who drove a powerful shot that Ter Stegen had covered, but the Barcelona keeper fumbled the save and he could only watch on as the ball crawled into the bottom left corner.
Just eight minutes later came the game’s fifth goal, this one in favour of the hosts. Messi played an incredible ball that picked out the run of Munir in the box. With just the keeper to beat, Munir squared it to the supporting Vidal on his right, and the Chilean tapped it into the open goal – 3-2 as Barca were just not going to give up.
But every time Barca scored, Betis immediately responded to bring the deficit back to two goals. Again just four minutes after the Barca goal, Junior, who had been creating all sorts of problems for the Barca defence, was released down the left. The Spaniard put a low cross into the box, and substitute Sergio Canales slid to reach it first and stab it home. And at 4-2 with just seven minutes of normal time to go, Betis could see the finish line.
But Barcelona kept plugging away and again brought the deficit back to one, thanks to a second goal from Messi deep into injury time. But it was too little too late, as the ref blew up the game soon after and the Seville club walked away with the three points and a historic victory.
Despite the loss, Barcelona remain top of the table. But as they did not take advantage of their game in hand, they are now just one point ahead of Atlético Madrid and Alavés, with all three clubs having played 12 games. Betis, meanwhile, jumped three places to 12th, and will remain there unless Celta Vigo manage to beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu later in the evening.
Barcelona vs Betis live:
Barcelona vs Betis preview:
Barcelona will look to extend their winning streak in LaLiga as they welcome Betis to Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon.
The Blaugrana secured their place in the second round of the Champions League on Tuesday night after a 1-1 draw against Inter in Milan, and have won their last four league games on the trot, which included the 5-1 thrashing of title rivals Real Madrid two weeks ago at the Camp Nou.
With seven wins, three draws and one loss, they currently sit top of the LaLiga standings, one point ahead of Alavés and Atlético Madrid, who have both played one game more. Betis meanwhile, sit close to the relegation zone in 15th, and after a decent sixth place finish last season, have had disappointing start to their LaLiga campaign this year.
Like Barcelona, they come into the game after a 1-1 draw against Italian opposition in European competition. The Verdiblancos drew with AC Milan at home on Thursday night, after having beaten the Italian side in Milan 2-1 two weeks ago. Their last LaLiga game ended 3-3 against Celta Vigo at home, after a 1-0 win away to Racing Santander. An unlikely win could see them jump a few places to 12th, depending on how the Celta Vigo-Real Madrid game goes (with Celta currently in 12th position), whereas a loss could see them drop one place to 16th if Villarreal manage to overcome Rayo Vallecano in Vallecas.
After recovering from a fractured arm, Lionel Messi was named in the squad for the Inter game on Wednesday, but in the end coach Ernesto Valverde decided to leave him in the stands. The Argentinean could make an appearance today, but if he does so it will likely be from the bench if Valverde opts to lean on the side of caution.
With Philippe Coutinho side-lined until the end of November with muscle injury and provided that Messi doesn’t start, Luis Suarez will likely be joined by Ousmane Dembélé and Rafinha up front. Although Valverde may also opt to start with Malcom, after the Brazilian came onto to score the equalizer against Inter on Wednesday night with his first touches of the ball.
Valverde will also be without injured defenders Thomas Vermaelan and Samuel Umtiti, meaning Clement Lenglet is likely to start in the centre defence alongside Gerard Pique.
Quique Setién said he personally wouldn’t risk starting Messi in the game today in an interview earlier this week, in what was a thinly veiled plea for mercy to his opposite number Ernesto Valverde. The Betis coach knows if his team have any hope of getting something out of the game against a currently high-flying Barca side, it would be more likely without the Argentinean talisman on the field.
Barca won both games against the Seville club last season, beating them 2-0 at home in August, before trouncing them 5-0 in January at the Estadio Benito Villamarín. Betis will need the likes of Joaquin and Loren, who is their top scorer this season with three goals, to be at the top of their game if they are going to leave Camp Nou with at least a point.