A sublime second-half performance from captain and talisman Lionel Messi fired Barcelona to a resounding 5-2 win over Real Betis at Camp Nou.

Barcelona ended their four-game winless streak in the 2020/21 La Liga as they thrashed Manuel Pellegrini’s Real Betis side 5-2 on Sunday, courtesy a Lionel Messi special after coming on from the bench.

Ousmane Dembele had put Barcelona ahead early in the game with a fierce effort, but they failed to build on it as Antoine Griezmann missed from the penalty spot while a number of chances went begging as well. Real Betis made the most of the Catalans’ profligacy, equalising through Antonio Sanabria close to half-time.

On came Messi after the restart and soon Barcelona were in front again with Griezmann finding the net after a brilliant dummy from his captain. The little magician then made no mistake from the spot after Barcelona were awarded a spot-kick for Aissa Mandi handling the ball on the goal-line, which also resulted in his sending off.

Loren Moron did pull one back for the visitors, but late goals from Messi and teenage prodigy Pedri put the game to bed and added more sheen to the scoreline. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Barcelona stars at Camp Nou on Saturday.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7/10

Starting his first La Liga game of the season, there wasn’t much that the German international could have done to keep out either of Betis’s goals. But, he did make some important saves, with the one to deny William Carvalho early on particularly standing out. Distribution from the back was sharp and precise.

Sergi Roberto: 6/10

Back into the side in place of Sergino Dest, Roberto had a torrid time coping with the threat of ex-Barcelona man Cristian Tello and the marauding Alex Moreno. Positioning was poor throughout, while both the visitors’ goals came from his side. But, he ended the game with two assists, setting up Messi’s second and Pedri’s late strike, which bumps up his rating.

Gerard Pique: 5/10

The leader of Barcelona’s defence failed to clear the deflected cross for Betis’s opener as he was slow to react.  Got dragged out of position for the second goal, as he tried to cover on the right for Roberto. Passing also wasn’t as crisp as it is usually, although he did get better with time in the second period when Barcelona well and truly hit their stride.

Clement Lenglet: 5/10

Back in the starting XI after sitting out in the midweek Champions League clash, the Frenchman also failed to deal with the cross for Betis’s first of the evening and wasn’t alert enough to pick Moron up leading to their second. Wasn’t greatly involved in the build-up from the back for the hosts.

Jordi Alba: 7/10

An energetic performance from the Spaniard full of running and purpose as he hared up and down the left, trying to create chances for his teammates while staying solid at the back. The arrival of Messi in the second half seemed to flick a switch, as he became more penetrating after that. Set Griezmann up for Barcelona’s second of the night.

Sergio Busquets: 6/10

Back in the lineup, the veteran midfielder fared better than he has for most of the new season. Good positioning for most parts of the game, kept things ticking with his accurate distribution while also playing two key passes on the evening.

Frenkie de Jong: 7/10

Returning to his natural position in the middle of the park after featuring in defence in a few games recently, the Dutchman put in an impressive performance. Ran well with the ball gliding past the opposition and found his teammates in dangerous positions with smart passes. Defensively remains a tad suspect, but worked hard to press Betis high up the pitch and force turnovers. A step in the right direction.

Ousmane Dembele: 7.5/10

After a terrible injury-riddled period, the Frenchman is finally starting to show why the Catalans shelled out the big bucks for him in 2017. Opened the scoring for Barcelona with a stunning strike in the first half and won the penalty in the second half as Mandi handled his fiercely-hit shot. Showed good intent throughout his stay on the pitch. Signs of better things to come.

Antoine Griezmann: 6.5/10

Poor finishing in the first half saw the Frenchman miss a number of chances, while he also had a penalty saved by former Barcelona man Claudio Bravo. Did get his goal early in the second half, but more was needed of him, especially when Messi had been afforded a rest in the first period.

Pedri: 6.5/10

Starting his second game in a row, the youngster had a rather quiet outing, with moments of quality interspersed with long periods of uninvolvement. Did create a fine chance for Griezmann in the first period, while he also got a goal late in the game. While it is clear that the 17-year-old has bags of potential, managing his game time better would benefit him and Barcelona in the long run.

Ansu Fati: 7/10

Barcelona’s top scorer for the season so far, the teenage sensation stepped up in the absence of Messi and was a bright spot in attack throughout the first half. Had a couple of close shots, while he also won the penalty which Griezmann missed. Came off at half-time with a knee injury, with Messi replacing him.


Lionel Messi: 9/10

After a lot was said over his lack of desire to play for Barcelona over the last week, Lionel Messi decided to shut his critics down in typical Lionel Messi fashion as he turned on the magic after coming on at half-time. Sumptuous dummy in the lead-up to Griezmann’s goal, followed by a well-struck penalty gave Barcelona a two-goal cushion.

The Argentine international then went on to score his first goal of the season from open play with a powerful left-footed strike Could have had a hat-trick soon after but was denied by Bravo on one occasion, while a goal was ruled out for offside in build-up play. The difference-maker for Barcelona, as is the case more often than not.

Francisco Trincao: 6.5/10

Came on for Dembele in the 66th minute. Was involved in the late attacks that Barcelona mounted.

Martin Braithwaite: N/A

Replaced Griezmann with a little over ten minutes left.

Miralem Pjanic: N/A

Late substitute for Busquets.

Comments 1

  1. Haywhy says:

    Up Barcelona nice one

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