Betis eclipse Leo Messi's return


     

photo/laliga.es


The return of Leo Messi 22 days after his injury was completely eclipsed by the footballing lesson that Quique Setien's Real Betis handed out. That away win leaves LaLiga Santander more open than ever.

Rakitic, Busquets and Arthur were easily overcome in midfield and both Tello and Junior broke the Barcelona defence again and again. William Carvalho's simple pass to Junior saw him cut inside Sergi Roberto and beat Ter Stegen at the near post. Before the goal, Betis had already seen two chances wasted.

Messi was excellent but his supporting cast let him down time and again. Their best chance was a shot by Lenglet after a free kick from Messi that was deflected for a corner. Betis continued pouring forward and a spectacular stop from Ter Stegen stopped Tello from making it 2-0.

Their second wasn't long in coming though, as Joaquin was left in acres of space inside the box, and Tello's accurate pass found him to tap home. It could easily have been three shortly afterwards, and the hosts will have been grateful to hear the referee's whistle for half-time.

Arturo Vidal came on for Arthur after the break and the Chilean took just 15 seconds to get his first chance to score. Barcelona came out looking for a quick goal to get into the game and Messi was close with a shot that brushed the post.

Tello again went close and it was he who then helped the Catalans get back into the match, committing an absurd penalty on Jordi Alba.Messi didn't fail from the spot and the game was alive again.

Ter Stegen is human

Just four minutes later, a shot by Lo Celso was bungled by Ter Stegen and Betis finally had a deserved third.

As the clock wound down, tired legs allowed Vidal to get in at the back post and bring Barcelona back to within a goal again, but then Ivan Rakitic inexplicably got himself sent off and Betis went 4-2 shortly after, Caneles on target on this occasion.

It's the first time since 2003 that Barcelona have let in four goals at home, but there was still time for Messi to make it 4-3 and give the home crowd some very late hope, albeit in vain.

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