Defending champion Barcelona beat Real Betis 3-2 in a thrilling encounter in Benito Villamarín stadium, to close the gap on La Liga leaders Real Madrid. Defender Clement Lenglet header earn Barcelona win but was immediately sent off.
Real Betis vs Barcelona – Goals
The champions twice came from behind to level before Lenglet headed in Lionel Messi’s 73rd-minute free-kick.
Sergio Canales’ sixth-minute penalty gave Betis an early lead but Frenkie de Jong levelled three minutes later. But it was Lenglet who was at fault to handle the ball in the box within five minutes of the match. Former Real Madrid player Canales confidently converted from the spot.
Nabil Fekir’s fine strike restored the hosts’ advantage only for Sergio Busquets to make it 2-2 at half-time.
Trailing 3-2, Betis were reduced to 10 men after Nabil Fekir received two yellow cards in quick succession but Lenglet’s dismissal within minute made took out numerical advantage from Barca.
It was a difficult week for Barcelona after they were eliminated from Copa del Rey at the quarter-final by Athletic Bilbao and the club’s sporting director Eric Abidal publically criticised the players for not working hard enough. If that was not enough, a Messi post in Instagram made it a very public topic.
Messi assisted for all three goals
It was an unusual day to not to find Messi in the scoresheet, but he had direct contribution to all three goals that Barcelona scored. He made a hat-trick in assisting for goals.
De Jong and Busquets both also converting from Messi assists, before Lenglet jumped over Betis defenders to score the winner with a header.
Setien’s side remain within three points from Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid, current table topper in La Liga.
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