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November 10, 2013
• Estadio Benito Villamarín, Sevilla
Referee: José Luis González González
• Attendance: 45000
Jorge Molina 90'+
Fàbregas 63', 79'
That is it from me, Tom Webber, for tonight. That was a thoroughly enjoyable game and I hope you have a great remainder of the evening!
FULL TIME - Betis 1-4 Barcelona: The Blaugrana go three points clear at the top of the league following Atletico Madrid's draw with Villarreal, while Betis remain rooted to the bottom of the table. Goals from Neymar, Pedro and a double from Fabregas gave Tata Martino's side a deserved victory.
90' + 3'
It is the final kick of the game as the full-time whistle is sounded.
90' + 2'
Penalty Goal Jorge Molina
GOOOAALL! Molina fires it past Valdes with a cool finish, but Barcelona will be disappointed with that.
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Daniel Alves
90' + 1'
PENALTY TO BETIS!! Alves pulls Matilla to the ground and the hosts have a chance for a consolation goal here.
90' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional two minutes.
Iniesta picks up the ball and carries it forward but is not closed down by the Verdiblancos. He plumps for goal but cannot find a route to goal between the bodies in front of him.
To their credit the Betis fans are still making a brilliant noise inside the Benito Villamarin, though I am sure they will be eager for the referee to blow his final whistle and bring this to a close.
Great work from Valdes! A sloppy backpass from Puyol sends Chuli through on goal but the keeper races off his line to make an important challenge. It sends the forward out wide and his attempt to catch the keeper off his line falls behind the goal.
More worries for Barca from set pieces as Matilla rises above Puyol to glance a header on target from a free kick. He fails to put it either side of Valdes, though, who gathers easily.
Another save from Valdes! Molina somehow manages to shovel the ball to Chuli and he flicks the ball over his head and gets in front of Puyol to position himself to shoot. It's too high when he strikes it and so his effort bounces tamely into the keepers' arms.
Fabregas could barely even celebrate that one it was so easy. Caro completely misjudged the flight of the ball and gifted him a simple goal. The midfielder has an ice pack on his knee after being replaced by Sergi Roberto.
Assist Daniel Alves
Goal Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOOAAAL!! Fabregas has his second! Alves pushes on and whips a great cross into the area. Fabregas ambles into the box and gets an unchallenged head to the ball, which finds the back of the net via the inside of the post.
Puyol is caught on possession inside his own box but fortunately for him Song is back to help tidy up and ensure the only damage is a corner. The Barca captain has surrendered possession a bit too often tonight.
Yellow Card Xavi Torres
The Blaugrana seem happy to keep the game ticking over at a rather tepid pace for now. It is forcing the home crowd to go quiet for long periods as they don't seem to appreciate the football on show!
Neymar makes way for the young winger Tello. The Brazilian had been hobbling about in the past few moments but it is surely just a precaution to take him off.
Molina gets on the end of a free kick, delivered by Nono, but his header goes extremely high and extremely wide. It has not been his greatest night in front of goal but he hasn't had a particularly great deal of service.
Xavi is playing a bit higher up the pitch now and after a give-and-go with Song he slips a pass to Neymar. The Brazilian tries a clever pass over the top of the defence but ends up kicking it straight into a Verdiblanco shirt. He should perhaps have gone for a more simple option.
The Blaugrana look a far more confident outfit following that third goal. They are playing some lovely intricate football and look capable of really punishing Betis with yet more goals tonight.
Juan Carlos makes way for Didac now, which is a very defensive change from Pepe Mel. He clearly wants to try and limit the damage that Barcelona can do in the remainder of this game.
Yellow Card Nono
STAT: The Blaugrana have kept a clean sheet in six of their last seven Liga away games. With the way Bartra and Puyol have been playing, combined with Betis' profligacy, you would expect them to improve upon that tonight.
Goal Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOOAALL! THAT IS EXQUISITE! Iniesta dinks a lovely pass over the top of the defence with the outside of his boot and Montoya squares it for Fabregas to slide home Barca's third. Betis' high back line is punished once again.
Neymar doesn't seem to possess the pace to race through on goal when fed in behind the defence. Again he lets the defenders catch up to him and this time Steinhofer makes an important challenge. In fairness, the pitch does look extremely heavy tonight.
DOUBLE SAVE FROM SARA!! Xavi releases Neymar with an exquisite long ball over the defence. The Brazilian cuts inside of his marker but sees his first shot stopped by Sara, he stays on his feet and positions himself well to then get in the way of Neymar's follow-up effort. Great keeping.
Everything has become rather scrappy recently. Hopefully this will not last for much longer! it doesn't seem to as a good ball in from the right is flapped at by Sara, but Barca are unable to make anything of it.
The game seems to have hit a bit of a lull following those injuries. The momentum that Betis had been building has flatlined and that will suit Barcelona as things stand. They are just riding out this early pressure.
Yellow Card Juan Carlos
Alves has been in the wars tonight! Juan Carlos picks up a booking for a very late challenge on the Brazilian. It was so late that it didn't even look like it took place on the pitch!
Nono is now down following a coming together with Song. It looked to be purely accidental but the midfielder hobbles off the pitch. Like all the others, he quickly returns to the action though.
OFF THE POST!! Betis fail to make anything from the corner but Caro rolls it back to Nono in excess of 25 yards from goal. He strikes the ball brilliantly and it rasps across goal, beating Valdes but coming back off the foot of the post.
WHAT A BLOCK!! Bartra is there yet again! The centre-back dives in the way of Vadillo's shot to deflect it behind for a corner. He is having a very good game.
The Verdiblancos will need to maintain this sort of pressure if they are to find a way back into the game. That could, of course, leave them more open defensively. With Barcelona showing their potency on the break we could be in for even more goals.
VERDU!! So close! Betis are almost straight back into it as after Nono sees a powerful shot blocked, the Verdiblancos attack again. It was a well-controlled effort from Verdu but he was unable to guide the shot inside of Valdes' post.
We are back underway!
The teams are back out on the pitch and the second half will begin shortly.
HALF TIME - Betis 0-2 Barcelona: The Verdiblancos gave a good account of themselves in the first half but two strikes in roughly 90 seconds from Neymar and Pedro gives Tata Martino's team a comfortable lead at the break. Stay tuned for the second half!
45' + 1'
The half-time whistle goes!
THAT SHOULD BE THREE!! Neymar is released down the left, beating the offside trap, and he rolls the ball across goal for Pedro. It looks sure to be a simple finish but Jordi Figueras makes a brilliant challenge to deflect the effort behind.
Bartra again gets across to beat Vadillo to the ball, but under pressure from the winger he goes to ground far too easily. The referee doesn't buy it and so Betis earn a throw deep in the Barca half.
Steinhofer puts another cross into the box from the right flank but Bartra gets in front of Molina to head it behind for a corner. He has been efficient at sweeping up at the back so far tonight.
STAT: Barcelona have won 16 of their previous 17 matches in La Liga, and have been on top of the table for 50 consecutive rounds.
Well, Betis had started impressively but Barca show the importance of being clinical with a quickfire double that puts them into a comfortable lead. Valdes' saves earlier in the game prove even more important now.
GOOOOAAALL!! BARCA DOUBLE THEIR LEAD! The game had barely restarted and the Blaugrana catch the Betis defence out as Pedro charges through them from midfield. He runs right through the heart of them before bending an effort past Sara and into the far corner.
Assist Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOOAAALL!! Great football from Barcelona! Song cuts the Betis defence apart with a scything ball from deep. Fabregas gets on the end of it and puts it on a plate for Neymar to sweep home at the back post. Barcelona have the lead.
Juan Carlos steals possession from Alves and charges down the left but is unable to beat Bartra. Barca counter immediately but Pedro's attempt to chip the keeper fails.
Puyol gives possession away with a terrible clearance from inside the box, but the centre-back wins a free kick as he takes a shove from Verdu seconds later.
Neymar is again caught offside here. He seems to be very frustrated this evening and feels he is getting rough treatment from the opposition. It has always been a question mark over the Brazilian: can he deal with tight, physical marking?
Alves again gets up to support the forwards but his cross into the box is comfortably collected by Sara. Maybe time for a change in approach from the Catalans.
The Blaugrana are being penned back in their own half here! You get the feeling, though, that they will be more capable of taking their chances than the hosts have been so far tonight.
Betis really don't look like a side who are bottom of the league. Another great ball into the box, this time from Steinhofer, is met by Molina but he too is unable to work Valdes. They need to make more of these chances.
Brilliant from Bartra! The young centre-back races across the penalty area to get an important foot to the ball as Vadillo waits for it to drop for a shot. Vital challenge.
WHAT A CHANCE!! Betis have another opportunity to break the deadlock as Nacho's free kick finds Caro, unmarked, in the penalty area. He seems to get caught under the ball, though, and he fails to direct his header on target.
Neymar must do better! The Brazilian peels off his marker and connects with a Dani Alves cross on the penalty spot. He tries to send the ball back into the corner which it came from but directs it far too close to the keeper.
Barcelona are not really clicking at the moment, with the midfield and the attack not really linking up. It will be interesting to see whether Fabregas moves into attack now, or if Neymar moves inside and Iniesta goes onto the left.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Messi has been forced off the pitch after a rather clumsy challenge from Caro earlier on in the game. He won't be catching up to Ronaldo tonight.
Dani Alves is down after a collision with Nono. The midfielder has made a couple of crunching challenges already this evening. The right-back looks fine to continue.
Yellow Card Víctor Valdés
VALDES IS AT IT AGAIN! Vadillo looked to have let the ball get away from him inside the box but he dug out a brilliant cross for Juan Carlos at the back post. He does everything right, heading hard and low but Valdes flings himself across goal and turns the effort behind for a corner.
GREAT SAVE!! Molina latches onto a ball in behind the defence and cuts inside of Bartra by the byeline. He hammers a shot towards the near post but Valdes stays big to smother the effort.
The Verdiblancos have began this game rather brightly, spreading the play from midfield effectively and looking capable of getting in behind the Barcelona defence.
A great battle is already developing between Neymar and Steinhofer on the near side. The German right-back is being quite physical but his opponent is going to ground far too quickly and is earning no sympathy from the officials.
STAT: Barca have only won twice in their previous 11 visits to the Estadio Benito Villamarin.
CHANCE!! Pedro spings the offside trap and plays the ball into the middle for Neymar. The Brazilian takes a touch but hesitates for too long and the chance to shoot evaporates. He beats the defender and squares a pass across the face of goal but no one is on hand to provide the final touch.
Good block from Bartra! Juan Carlos whips a free kick in from the right and Puyol's header fails to send it clear. The ball falls kindly for Molina inside the box but he is forced to shoot on the spin from an acute angle and Bartra puts his body on the line to concede a corner.
Neymar feels he should have had a free kick there after the Betis defence swarm upon him in the near side. Nothing is awarded but he quickly gets on with the game, making a forward run which Fabregas picks out. However, the referee's assistant raises his flag for an offside decision.
The corner is sent towards the back post and Jordi Figueras hooks it back into the danger area. Xavi Torres is on hand to divert it goalwards but his header sails well over the top without worrying Valdes.
Fabregas gives away a cheap free kick as he snaps at the heels of Verdu close to the half-way line. There was no need to make that challenge, and Betis take it short before moving it up to win a corner on the near side.
Great challenge from Song! Montoya got caught high up the pitch and Betis countered through Vadillo. He played the ball out towards Verdu but the Cameroonian midfielder was back to fill in and regain possession for his side.
Fabregas plays a ball over the top of the defence which Pedro chases down wide on the right. The winger holds the play up and possession is eventually worked back to the former Arsenal midfielder, but his attempt to find Neymar on the far side is awful.
Neymar is picked out on the left with a header from midfield and he dribbles into the box. Space opens up for him to take a shot but the Brazilian instead plays a square pass to the penalty spot which is cut out by the Betis defence.
We are underway in Seville!
The teams are out on the pitch now, so kick off will be upon us imminently.
Just under five minutes remaining until kick off in Seville!
The Argentine superstar has not quite been matching his goal-scoring exploits in La Liga seasons passed. He has managed to net eight times in 10 league appearances so far this season. Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, has had three more outings and scored twice as many goals. He will need to step up his efforts in front of goal if he is to catch the Portuguese in the Pichichi race this season.
The Verdiblancos might currently be bottom of the pile in Spain, but victory over Vitoria Guimaraes sent them to the top of Group I in the Europa League in midweek. Not to be outdone, though, Barca secured a 3-1 win over Italian powerhouse AC Milan in the Champions League, with Lionel Messi netting a double.
Betis find themselves in the midst of an injury crisis and Pepe Mel's selection problems have been worsened with the suspension of Javi Chica for tonight's fixture. The Blaugrana, meanwhile, are without Gerard Pique while Sergio Busquets has been given the weekend off, meaning Alex Song starts in midfield
Barcelona bench: Pinto, Adriano, Mascherano, Sergi Roberto, Iniesta, Sanchez, Tello.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Bartra, Puyol, Montoya; Xavi, Song, Fabregas; Pedro, Messi, Neymar.
Betis bench: Andersen, Amaya, Matilla, Didac, Rodriguez, Mabwati, Chuli.
Betis (4-2-3-1): Sara; Steinhofer, Caro, Jordi Figueras, Nacho; Xavi Torres, Nono; Vadillo, Verdu, Juan Carlos; Molina.
Here come the line-ups for tonight's encounter...
Tonight's hosts have won just twice in 12 outings this season and are currently on a five-game winless streak. Not the best time to be coming up against Barcelona, then, with the Blaugrana having only dropped two points so far this season. Pepe Mel's men will have their work cut out this evening, but their home can be an intimidating place to go and play football.
Hello and welcome to this evening's LIVE text commentary on the Liga clash between bottom of the table Real Betis and league leaders Barcelona. My name is Tom Webber and the Estadio Benito Villamarin is our destination this evening.
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