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May 5, 2013
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
• Attendance: 67185
A. Sánchez 9'
David Villa 56'
L. Messi 60', 71'
D. Pabón 2'
Rubén Pérez 43'
Full time in Camp Nou. Barcelona move within three points of Spanish Primera League glory as they run out 4-2 winners over Real Betis. The visitors acquitted themselves well in the first half and went into the break with a two-goal lead thanks to a goal from Dorlan Pabon and a sensational strike from Ruben Perez. However, Lionel Messi changed the match after coming on and netted two goals in 15 minutes through a free kick and a wonderful team now. A victory against Sevilla next week and the Catalans are crowned champions. I'm Martin Macdonald, thank you for joining us on Goal.com! See you next time!
Pepe Mel will be naturally disappointed with the result tonight, but it's not ever team that gives Barcelona such a scare and leads at the break at Camp Nou. Betis should be proud of the shift they've put in.
Really poor from Dani Alves. The Brazilian gets into a great position down the right flank but flashes his cross high and wide out for a throw-in on the opposite side of the park. That's been a feature of the former Sevilla man's play tonight, the final ball hasn't been there.
Vilanova makes his third and final change of the match. Alex Song is withdrawn and Sergio Busquets is his replacement in the middle of the park.
Adrian is given a slight scare as Tello blasted strike from the edge of the box wickedly takes a deflection on it's way to goal. The Betis 'keeper sees the ball out for a corner, which Barca take quickly.
UNLUCKY MESSI! The Argentine narrowly breaks the Betis offside trap and gets to the byline before reversing a cross back inside for Xavi, but the Betis defence did well to scramble the ball home! There's no way Messi is injured, surely?
Naturally, Xavi bounces back with an absolutely sensational cross-field out to Dani Alves. Sorry for doubting you, Xavi Hernandez!
A bit of a collector's item as Xavi misplaces a pass and Iniesta takes a poor first touch. Remember this, you wont see it often at all.
Tito Vilanova further freshens up the XI that's on the pitch. Alexis Sanchez, who has done well tonight, is replaced by Thiago Alcantara.
Betis very much deflated now. They haven't really been the same in the second half, perhaps due to the absence of Molina. He's got a real physical presence in the box, something Pepe Mel's men have lacked after the break.
It looks like Alexis came off the worst in that particular challenge. The Chilean looked to have been caught right on the top of the thigh. A sore one, but it looks like he'll soldier on.
Great goalkeeping from Adrian!! The Betis man rushes out from his line to nick the ball off the foot of Alexis at the edge of the box! If Alexis nicked that past him there it would undoubtedly be 5-2!
Did anyone take a punt on Messi to score a hat-trick coming off the bench in the second half? Me neither, we've all been fools!
GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!! THEY ARE REALLY TURNING ON THE STYLE NOW!! Iniesta wonderfully flicks the ball out to the right of the box for Alexis, who unselfishly tees up Messi at the back post, and the Argentine stabs home from two yards! Sublime stuff from the Catalans!
MESSSIIIII!!! HE ALMOST NETS ANOTHER FREE KICK!! The substitute steps up, gives the 'keeper the eyes, and whips a superb effort towards the top corner, but the attempt bounces off the top of the woodwork! Adrian was rooted to the spot!
A break in play though as Nosa will need to be replaced. The Nigerian looks to half picked up calf injury, and he'll be substituted for Joel Campbell, who is on loan from Arsenal.
Free kick to Barca in a great position. Tello displays superb skill with a couple of nifty stepovers on the edge of the box but he is unceremoniously hacked down by Amaya. This is definitely Messi territory...
Betis just aren't in this at the moment. That goal from Messi looks to have been a hammer blow to the visitors, but there's still plenty of time for them to get back into this. Barca always vulnerable at the back...
There are no words to describe the affect that Messi can have on this Barcelona team. He comes on, scores after two minutes, and has already given his team-mates more confidence going forward.
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!! WHO ELSE? LIONEL MESSI!!! The Argentine whips an utterly sensational free kick into the top right corner! Amazing, he's only been on the park two minutes!
How about that! Villa is substituted just after he scores! Not a bad replacement though, Lionel Messi has entered the fray. Doesn't really get any easier for Betis!
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!!! Villa breaks his curse tonight! Dani Alves gallops down the right and clips a cross to the back post. The former Valencia man is on hand to score with a diving header! 2-2! Game on!
Yellow CardRubén Pérez
Tello has been a little of the pace in the second half so far. He was frightening Chica with his blistering pace in the opening 45, but has lost the ball with poor touches on a couple of occasions after the break.
Barca just knocking the ball around nicely here, but with no real threat being posed to the Betis goal. Xavi has been largely frustrated as he looks to pick out runs from his team-mates, as the runs just haven't been there!
A massive cheer erupts from the Camp Nou crowd as Lionel Messi gets off the bench to do a warm-up. When will we see the Argentine?
Good defending from Amaya. Villa just looks to get on the end of an Alexis Sanchez through pass but the Betis defender remained solid to block the path to goal. Villa gives up the chase eventually.
A change to report at half time. Benat comes on to replace Jorge Molina for Betis.
We are back under way at Camp Nou!
Half-time in Camp Nou. Dorlan Pabon opened the scoring early doors with a neat finish from the right-hand side, only for Alexis Sanchez to peg them back just a few minutes later. However, the difference between the teams at the moment is a blistering strike from Ruben Perez from 30 yards. 2-1 Betis at half time, join us in 15 minutes for the second half!
Naughty challenge from Adriano. The Brazilian earns the first booking of the match for a cynical rake of the studs down the left of Molina. He'll need to be careful now.
GOOOOOOOAAAAL GOOOAAAAAL GOOOOAAAAL!!!! Sensational strike by Ruben Perez! The 23-year-old picks up possession 30 yards from goal and absolutely rifles a strike into the top left corner! Pinto no chance! 2-1 Betis!
TELLO!!! SURELY THAT'S IN!!! The 21-year-old once again cuts inside on his right foot but this time his attempt at goal flies towards the top corner, only to rise at the lats minute and hit the underside of the bar! That looked like it bounced beyond the lin!
Awful attempt from Alba. Barca's summer signing breaks forward unopposed and shifts the ball on to his left foot 30 yards out, but the resulting strike is high, wide, and not very handsome.
A lot of neat passing on display at the moment but both side have let their intensity drop every so slightly. Looks like the first period is winding down.
Speculative effort from Tello. This time the La Masia graduate changes it up a little by opting to cut inside on his right foot and lash an attempt at goal from 25 yards, but it was bread and butter for Adrian.
Absolutely everything is going down the left-hand side for Barca. Dani Alves has barely had a sniff in attacking positions, but there's plenty of space down the right wing if they wanted to utilise it.
Tello once again gets the better of Chica down the flank, but this time as he drives into the box he is thwarted by a fantastic challenge by Mario.
This just is not Villa's night! He's denied again! Tello does brilliantly to burst pass down challenges and get to the byline before cutting the ball back to his team-mate, who his a tame shot at goal that is saved by Adrian! He was seven yards out, he should have scored!
Much better from Villa. The Spaniard gets down the left channel and rifles a left-footed half volley at goal, but Adrian's positioning was perfect to turn the ball out for a corner. That's more like the old Villa!
A bit of a Hollywood save from Jose Pinto there. Ruben Castro reverses a cross to the penalty spot and Salva Sevilla opens up his foot to guide a shot towards the to corner. It was a good save from the Barca man but a less dramatic save may have sufficed.
What is wrong with David Villa?! He misses another glorious chance! Xavi cushions a neat header down to his compatriot, who, with the whole goal to aim, smashes his attempt way over the bar from six yards!
VILLAAAAA!! BARCA SHOULD BE 2-1 UP!! The ball comes to the former Valencia man with plenty of space just inside the box, but he can only manage a weak strike into the hands of Adrian!
Positive goalkeeping from Adrian. Xavi floats a lovely pass over the top of the Betis defence for Villa but the Betis 'keeper sprinted off his line to claim the ball with an excellent pair of hands.
A small tiff breaks out between David Villa and Xavi as the Barca captain mis-placed a pass t his team-mate. You don't see that often between Barca players. I'm sure they'll kiss and make-up at half time.
Chica is going to have to sort himself out here. The Betis right-back is being torn to shreds by the pace of Tello down that left-hand side. Barca are sensing this, and are getting the ball out there as much as possible.
MOLINA!!! Inches wide there! Pabon curls a corner kick to the front post and the centre-forward gets ahead of Pique to bullet a header at goal, but it just goes the wrong side of the post.
What a start to the match at Camp Nou, two goals in 10 minutes! Betis must be careful not to be too downhearted from Barca's leveler, though. The are knocking the ball around well out there.
Ohhhh poor cross from Tello! That was a real chance there! The 21-year-old brilliantly burst down the left but, with Villa standing for a tap-in at the back post, grossly over-hits his final ball!
AssistAndrés Iniesta Luján
GOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAL FOR BARCELONA!! They strike back immediately!! Iniesta glides to the byline before clipping a perfect cross to the back post, and Alexis Sanchez is on hand to bullet a header home! 1-1!!
A lot of Barcelona's play so far has went down the left-hand side, through Alba and Tello. Chica at right-back for Betis will certainly have his hands full tonight with those two!
That was a bit of a sucker punch to Barca, the early goal. They'll need to pick themselves up quickly, but there's plenty of football left to play at Camp Nou.
Superb challenge from Mario!! Alba whips a cross to the front post and Villa darts forward looking to divert a strike towards goal, but the Betis defender was on hand to save the goal with a well-timed tackle.
That certainly wasn't in the script for Barcelona! Champions League hangover perhaps?
GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAL FOR REAL BETIS!! Horror start for Barca! Pabon latches on to a loose ball at the back post and drives forward before lashing a right-footed strike in the bottom corner! 1-0 Betis!
We are under way at Camp Nou!
Don't forget to post your thoughts, feelings, and predictions on the match on to Twitter. You can follow Goal.com International at @goal_intl and you can follow yours truly at @MartinMac1.
Similarly, though, the visitors are not on a particularly good run of their own. Pepe Mel's men have won just one of their last six matches in La Liga.
Barca are on a three-match winless run in all competitions and their 7-0 aggregate loss to Bayern Munich was their heaviest two-legged defeat in European competition.
Barcelona are going for the title, but Betis may feel that they are facing the Catalan side at a good time.
Another big call from Tito Villanova as Lionel Messi is once again named on the bench.
Betis (4-2-3-1): Adrian; Chica, Mario, Amaya, Alex Martinez; Ruben Perez, Salva Sevilla; Pabon, Nose, Ruben Castro; Jorge Molina.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Alves, Pique, Adriano, Alba; Xavi, Iniesta, Song, Villa, Alexis, Tello.
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be taking you through the action this evening!
Good evening folks! Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the Spanish Primera Division clash between Barcelona and Real Betis at Camp Nou!
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