- Barcelona returned to winning ways on Saturday evening as they thrashed ten-man Real Betis 4-0 at Camp Nou
- Ousmane Dembele, who has been out for three months, returned against Betis after missing 17 games
FC Barcelona returned to winning ways on Saturday evening as they thrashed ten-man Real Betis 4-0 at Camp Nou.
Goals from Andreas Christensen, Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha and a Guido Rodriguez own goal ensured Barca increased their lead on top of La Liga to eleven points. The Catalans are now a few games from winning the La Liga title for the first time since 2019. Meanwhile, Real Betis remain sixth on 49 points.
Speaking after the match, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez said his players needed to respond after the beating in Vallecas.
“After the deserved defeat in Vallecas, we needed to react. We started well. We were already a goal up when the red card arrived. We basically killed the game off in the first half. It was a well-rounded performance from the team, we were able to rotate, give minutes to other players. It’s another step towards our objective.” ESPN quotes Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez.
Ousmane Dembele, who has been out for three months, returned against Betis after missing 17 games. The French forward was medically cleared a day before the Barca-Betis game.
Meanwhile, 15-year-old winger Lamine Yamal made history in the same match by becoming FC Barcelona’s youngest player. The academy product, who turns 16 in July, replaced Gavi in the 84th minute.
At 15 years and 290 days, the Spain international is the fifth-youngest footballer to play in La Liga. The youngest player to feature in the competition is Mallorca’s Luka Romero, who made his debut against Real Madrid in 2020 at the age of 15 years and 219 days.
How Barcelona Beat Real Betis
Barcelona opened the scoring last evening at Camp Nou just before the 15-minute mark, thanks to Andreas Christensen. The former Chelsea defender fired in a point-blank header following a cross from Raphinha.
While Betis were trying their best to get back into the game, they were reduced to ten men after 30 minutes of play. Edgar Gonzalez, who replaced the injured Luiz Felipe in the 12th minute, was forced to leave the pitch after receiving two quick yellow cards from the match’s referee.
Gonzalez’s exit made Barcelona’s work easy afterwards. The hosts doubled their lead in the 36th minute through Robert Lewandowski who hit a low cross from Jules Kounde.
Brazilian forward Raphinha then increased Barcelona’s lead to three in the 39th minute. However, he had to wait a few minutes to celebrate his goal as the assistant referee had initially ruled it out for offside. The decision was overturned following a VAR replay.
Barcelona went up 4-0 towards the end of the second half courtesy of Ansu Fati’s deflected cross in the six-yard-box.