The Barça follows wind in favor in the Villamarín
Xavi’s men, outstanding leaders, resolve a demanding exchange against Betis with goals from Raphinha and Lewandowski
MADRID, 1 Feb. (EUROPA PRESS) –
FC Barcelona prevailed (1-2) this Wednesday against Real Betis on matchday 17 of LaLiga Santander held at the Benito Villamarín, a clash pending the Super Cup that also stayed with the culé team, to consolidate their leadership and put pressure on the Real Madrid.
Xavi Hernández’s team begins to be a wall. A team that has only conceded seven goals in the first round and that once again knew how to suffer. The investment in the rear – this year with Kounde and Christensen to build a solid line with Araujo – pays off in a Barça that, on dull days, has insurance behind.
The Barça team recovered Lewandowski after sanction, but it cost the Pole the return. Pedri, who came as a scorer, did not hit the mark and, without the recently injured Dembélé, Xavi’s team had a hard time creating danger. Betis, always upright, had their options but in the second half, the visitor’s step forward resulted in goals from Raphinha, on his quick free-kick, and Lewandowski.
The first act left the presentation of the game, as expected, with both teams looking for leadership, arguments to get ahead in one and the other, but with 0-0 at halftime. It was more difficult for Barça to get closer to the goal because they had to do it a lot in a positional position that Betis controlled well, without a flash or a great last pass.
Lewandowski was erratic in his connections and Xavi’s team lived above the second-line arrivals of a Pedri not so connected with the goal this time. The canary, architect of the three points against Getafe and Girona, stood up twice in front of Rui Silva but did not score. With the fight in the center of the field, the best goal options came with the error at the start.
The culé team committed two, with Canales, Guido and Ruibal intense in the robbery, but Borja Iglesias was not right either, nor a Canales who took a long time to finish off Ter Stegen. Betis thought less of it and Barça wanted to cook it more, but both showed the same lack of success. Raphinha managed to score for the Catalans, but it was clearly offside that the VAR confirmed, and the Betis went to the locker room pressing on.
A COUPLE OF SPARKS FROM THE LEADER
The inertia, the one that has brought without losing a game since October 26 and the one that sowed in the first half, made Barça better in the second half, focused on the rival goal. Pedri improved with his shot but found a saving hand from Rui Silva and Raphinha went around the rival area a couple of times, claiming penalties.
The referee was not happy with anyone and neither was it at 0-1, a foul that De Jong put into play quickly, so that Balde scored the goal pass for the Brazilian. Pellegrini had just moved the bench, removing a Fekir who is recovering his rhythm after injury and putting Juanmi in as an offensive reinforcement. With the temperature rising, Borja Iglesias did not hit the mark in the small area and Barça had to press again in defense and, above all, in the withdrawal.
With 10 minutes remaining, Lewandowski showed that he does retain the nose of the Pichichi and caught a first shot from Araujo in a corner kick to double the income. Barça forgave the third and once again ended up sweating the three points with Koundé’s own goal. Villamarín’s push and a couple of dangerous crosses put the suffered note on another victory as leader for Xavi’s men, while Pellegrini’s men let the Champions train escape.
–RESULT: REAL BETIS, 1 – FC BARCELONA, 2. (0-0, at halftime).
REAL BETIS: Rui Silva; Ruibal (Sabaly, min.78), Pezzella, Luiz Felipe, Abner; Guido, Fekir (Juanmi, min.63), Carvalho (Guardado, min.62); Luiz Henrique (Rodri, min.77), Borja Iglesias (Willian Jose, min.77) and Canales.
FC BARCELONA: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; Busquets, De Jong, Gavi (Ferran Torres, min.84); Raphinha (Ansu Fati, 80 mins) Lewandowski and Pedri (Kessie, 90 mins).
0 – 1, min.65, Raphinha.
0 – 2, min.80, Lewandowski.
1 – 2, min.85, Koundé (own goal).
–REFEREE: De Burgos Bengoetxea (C. Vasco). He admonished Guardado (min.67), Ruibal (min.67) and Luiz Felipe (min.69) by Betis. He sent off Carvalho (min.95) for a direct red card.
–STADIUM: Benito Villamarín Stadium, 48,181 spectators.