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Deportivo La Coruña
May 12, 2012
• 4:00 PM
• Estadio Benito Villamarín, Sevilla
Referee: Miguel Ángel Ayza Gámez
• Attendance: 37000
Rubén Castro 71', 75'
Sergio Busquets 9'
S. Kéita 90'+
That's it from me. Hope you enjoyed our coverage tonight and remember, we will be back again tomorrow with coverage of the other final round Liga fixtures. So it's a farewell to Guardiola from a Liga point of view yet the Catalan will have a chance to end his Barca reign on a high when his side face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final on May 25. Anyways I've been Luke Matthews, thank you for joining me. Buenas Noches folks!
So after Busquet's opener, Alves' sending off seemed to turn the game on it's head. Castro found the net twice for Betis and it looked as if the Andalusians were heading to an unlikely win. However Keita was on hand to net in injury time. Barca fans will be disappointed with the result and how their season went but a great game for the neutrals!
FULL-TIME! Late drama then as the Catalans snatch a draw at the death. After a rather boring first period, the game sprang into life during the second half.
90' + 1'
90' + 1'
Goal Seydou Keita
GOAL BARCELONA! Keita's header finds the back of the net from Montoya's cross. Looks like Barca will earn a late point.
Yellow Card José Cañas
Canas brings Messi down 30 metres from goal. Can the Catalan visitors find a late equaliser from the resulting free-kick?
Very little happening in this game now and it seems that Barca have accepted defeat. The cameras turn to Guardiola and Vilanova on the bench who both look a little bemused on how this game has turned out.
Xavi is off to be replaced by Iniesta and as always seems to happen, the opposing supporters give the midfielder a standing ovation after his injury-time strike won Spain the World Cup in 2010.
Yellow Card Beñat
Not much happening in terms of clear cut chances at the moment and it has to be said, Messi has looked disappointing tonight.
So can Barca fight their way back into this match? They're trying to put with 10 men they may struggle to score the goal they need.
So this match has been turned completely on its head and Guardiola is in danger of losing his final league game in charge of Barca.
Goal Rubén Castro
GOAL BETIS! WOW! Who would have guesses this at half-time? Benat slips a great pass through to Ruben Castro and the striker makes no mistake from just inside the box as he slides it past Valdes for his 16th goal of the season. Poor defending from Barca.
Assist Roque Santa Cruz
Goal Rubén Castro
GOAL BETIS! The home side have found an equaliser and Ruben Castro is the man who finds it. Santa Cruz cleverly flicks the ball on with his head before Castro dinks it over the onrushing Valdes and into the net.
Very open game at the moment and Betis are showing some fight heading into the final 20 minutes. Barca have been far from their best so do not rule out an equaliser here.
GREAT CHANCE FOR BETIS! Nacho gets forward and delivers a low cross into the box which deflects off Mascherano before then hitting the leg of Valdes and towards his own goal. However the ball is cleared from the goalmouth by Pique.
There has been another change for Betis by the way with Non coming on for Pozuelo. Will the change make any difference?
Pedro's incise run sees the winger on the edge of the Betis box yet he's unable to pick out his fellow runner, Pique. Surprising to see the centre-half so far up the pitch, especially with his team playing with 10 men and protecting a slender lead.
Oh and a little stat for you. That's Alves' eighth red card in Liga and his second versus Betis.
For those of you asking, Alves' suspension following that sending off will not rule him out of the Copa del Rey final. However, he will be suspended for the first game of next campaign.
There have been two substitutions by the way. Afellay has been replaced by Montoya who will slot in at right-back while Montero is off for Betis with Santa Cruz sent on in his place.
Few of your thoughts from Twitter now. Mwalimu Bosco is angry with Alves and thinks the Catalans should sell the Brazilian and replace him with Alba. Anyone else agree? Surely if he was to be replaced Barca would need a right-back, not a left-sided player.
Roque Santa Cruz
How will Betis respond to that Barca sending off? Surely the home side will take confidence from playing versus 10-men, especially after coming to life in the last five minutes.
Yellow/Red Daniel Alves
ALVES IS OFF! The Brazilian sees a second yellow card for a shocking lunge on Montero. Ridiculous from the former Sevilla man who will not be popular with Guardiola right now.
Another chance from Betis! Ruben Castro gets the better of Mascherno before making his way into the penalty area. The forward, one-on-one with Valdes struggled to get the ball from out of his feet as the keeper grabbed the ball on second attempt.
Ruben Castro whips a delicious low cross into the penalty area which is controlled by Pereira. However, the attacker then scuffs his shot from eight yards out.
SNAPSHOT FROM KEITA! The Malian midfielder tries his luck from 15 yards out yet Casto gets down well to block the ball with his hand.
Betis get us back underway for the second period and Mel will be hoping to see better for his men. You have to think that Barca will soon be ringing the changes to give some of their youth a taste of first-team action.
HALF-TIME! We have reached the break and Barca are winning 1-0 here after Busquet's header. Fairly comfortable stuff for Guardiola's men who haven't had to get out of second gear. Betis are full of running but seem to lack the belief that they could win this game. Make sure you do not go anywhere! Oh, and keep your thoughts coming into Twitter @LukasMaf.
Chica gifts another free-kick away as he barges Pedro out of the way. There was contact yet the attacker had seemingly knocked the ball out of play.
Nasty lunge from Chica on Busquets but no yellow card which is surprising. Xavi takes the resulting free-kick from outside and no player makes contact with the ball as it somehow goes narrowly wide of the target.
We're approaching the interval and it's still 1-0 to the Catalans courtesy of Busquets' clever header early on.
A few more thoughts and predictions on Twitter. Martin McGrath thinks it will be 5-0 to Barca while Sohail Zia and Brian Xavier say Barca will earn a 3-1 victory with the former saying that the referee seems a little one-sided in favour of Barca. Is that really Brian Xavier or a certain Mr Mourinho?
Just as Messi threatens to go on one of his slaloming runs, the Argentine is stopped in his stacks when Paulao does well to stop his effort just inside the box.
Corner for Barca as Xavi makes a bit of a pigs ear of it and the ball ends up 30 metres from goal.
Yellow Card Daniel Alves
Adriano cuts in onto his right foot and smacks a nice effort at goal which Casto acrobatically parries to safety. A save for the cameras that.
Keita chips a lovely ball through to Alves yet Montero tracks ball well as the Brazilian full-back can only watch on as his attempted cross ends up bouncing off him and out for a goalkick.
Simple stuff for the Blaugrana so far with very little coming from Mel's men. Surely a second would kill off this match?
A few of your predictions on Twitter now and Hussain Afraz thinks we will see a 4-0 Barca win while Kristjan Alex has said it will be 4-1 to the away team with Lionel Messi scoring a brace. Keep your thoughts and predictions coming @LukasMaf.
Betis believe they should have a free-kick on the edge of the box as Ruben Castro is felled by Mascherano yet nothing given by the referee. Looking at the replays there certainly was contact.
Xavi comes close! The midfielder tries his luck from the set-piece but curls it narrowly wide of the target.
Free-kick on the edge of the box for Barca as Chica brings down Afellay. Goal here?
Messi picks the ball up 20 metres from goal and attempts an effort yet it's pretty poor for his incredibly high standards as it drifts well wide of the goal.
Slight delay in play now as Afellay is on the ground screaming like a little girl. It appears he may have dislocated his finger which is currently being popped back into place. Lovely stuff.
Betis have responded fairly well so far to conceding and are currently enjoyed a little possession. Still, yet to really test Valdes.
Very good start for Barca who have already given their opponents a tricky task. If the home team are to get back into this one, they can't afford to concede another anytime soon.
GOAL BARCELONA! Xavi whips a corner into the box and Busquets does brilliantly to make a run towards the front post and flick a clever header past the despairing dive of Casto. Lovely goal.
Messi slides a wonderful ball through to Afellay yet Casto shows great alertness to beat the Dutchman to the ball and clear it out of play for a throw-in.
First attempt on goal for Barca as Pedro drifts in field from the right before drilling a decent low effort towards the goal. However Casto is alert and gets down well to make the stop.
Benat whips a free-kick towards goal yet it's pretty poor and Pique is on the edge of the box to head clear. Defending set-pieces isn't one of the stronger aspects of Barca's game so the home side will certainly need to do better in those situations.
Same old Barcelona at the moment with the Catalans settling into an earlier rhythm. Since Guardiola took over the team in 2008, the Blaugrana have had more possession in every game they have played. Fact that.
We're underway here at the Benito Villamarin and Barca are immediately in possession.
Both sets of players are heading onto the pitch now. Betis are in their traditional green and white while Barca are wearing red and blue.
Look away now Blaugrana fans, this is a stat you will not want to here. Barcelona have won on just one of their last nine league visits to Real Betis.
Remember, you can let me know your thoughts and opinions on the game on Twitter @LukasMaf. I want to know your predictions folks!
So surprise news for Barca tonight is a rare start for Afellay, his first of an injury-plagued season. Elsewhere Pique replaces the injured Puyol, Valdes is back in goal, Xavi comes in for Thiago while Alves is back, coming in for Montoya.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Adriano; Keita, Busquets, Xavi; Pedro, Messi, Afellay
Real Betis (4-4-2): Casto; Chica, Paulao, Dorado, Nacho; Benat, Canas, Jefferson Montero, Pozuelo; Jonathan Pereira, Ruben Castro
So here come the teams...
Hello and welcome to Goal.com's coverage of Betis versus Barcelona from the Estadio Benito Villamarin. I'm Luke Matthews and I'll be guiding you through tonight's action. Both teams will be looking to end their respective campaigns on a high this evening and of course, it's Pep Guardiola's last Liga game in charge of Barca. Well, until he returns in a few years time of course.
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