BARCELONA (Jordi Blanco, correspondent) – Barcelona met again with victory in LaLiga, after four rounds, beating Betis (5-2) in a match that began with Lionel Messi making headlines for his first substitution under the command of Ronald Koeman and finished with the Argentine turned into the protagonist, leading the Barça victory in the second half after the tie at the last minute with which the Andalusian team came to rest.
Two goals and an ‘assist’ without touching the ball were the captain’s numbers in 45 minutes. He entered the field to wake up Barça after the 1-1 with which the first half ended and in the blink of an eye he parked the nightmare that was beginning to be suspected at the Camp Nou. From substitution to magnificence, Lionel’s Saturday went to frame …
Physically limited, according to what an assistant to Ronald Koeman admitted before the start of the game, Messi stayed on the bench for the first time since September 2019 and Barça faced the game with Antoine Griezmann occupying his theoretical position of ’10’ behind the top, with Pedri and Ousmane Dembele in bands. The Barça team didn’t do badly in terms of play, dominating and creating plenty of chances to go on the scoreboard … But once again, his lack of goal hurt him. Up to seven goal shots went into limbo, including a penalty taken by the French and rejected by Claudio Bravo.
Betis responded to the Barça demand with good internships on the wing, either with Cristian Tello or Alex Moreno, and the Canales command, standing up and never giving himself up, not even when Leo, in the second penalty in the afternoon, achieved the 3 -1 accompanied by the expulsion of Mandi. High up, irregular in the creation zone, suffering in the backward race, what penalizes Koeman’s team the most, in addition to his lack of goal, is the little security he has in defense, too often when breaking between lines and allow the arrival of rivals.
It happened so much in the 1-1 of Sanabria, with the arrival of Tello in which Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique were not attentive, and it happened again with the 3-2 of Loren after the excellent incursion of Alex Moreno closed with a magnificent attendance … With another generalized confusion.
Before Dembélé had opened the scoring with a goal and a lot had happened. And those that would still happen … Well in his game, Griezmann was wrong in front of goal until Messi came to his aid, with a magical ‘assist’, without touching the ball to the center of Alba to mislead everyone and give him the gift Simple shot to the French at the beginning of the second half to break the tie. And everything seemed more sentenced when Dembélé, especially outstanding in attack during the 66 minutes he played, forced the penalty that Leo, without discussion, slipped into the Betic goal.
In inferiority, Betis rebelled, scored 3-2 and discussed the Barça victory … until nine minutes from the end, a heel pass from Sergi Roberto led to a howitzer from Messi, his sixth goal and the first of play since in August he scored against Napoli, shortly before Pedri made his debut in the League with the final 5-2
Messi by active and passive. News before starting and news when finishing. Barça’s victory, its awakening in the League, came from the captain’s hands …