Barcelona thrashed Real Betis 5-0 to continue their unbeaten run in La Liga, courtesy of braces from Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Barcelona returned to winning ways after losing 1-0 to Espanyol in the Copa del Rey Quarterfinal first leg last week by thrashing Real Betis 5-0 during their La Liga fixture. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were the architects tonight as they recorded individual doubles and provided the sparkling form to maintain Barcelona’s 11-points lead at the top of La Liga’s summit.
After a drab first half at the Estadio Benito Villamarin, which saw very little action from either side, Barcelona came back into the second to blow Betis away from the encounter. Betis started brightly, pressing and pinning the Barcelona defence into their own final third, while also missing some very good chances.
Barcelona lacked the cutting edge they have shown so much during the season but made up for their lack of creativity in the first with a romping display in the second period. Ivan Rakitic opened the scoring in the 59th minute followed by Messi who added a second five minutes later.
Suarez joined the party to add a third, followed by Messi with a fourth and the Uruguayan completing the routing with a fifth in the 89th minute. Betis seemed out of contention right after the first goal, and were no match to the fluency of the Barcelona attack spearheaded by their formidable Argentine and Luis Suarez.
Here’s how Barcelona players rated in the defeat of Betis to keep Barcelona’s firm, 11-point grip at the La Liga summit.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
Had very little to do throughout the game. The only major active period was the first half when a few shots were directed towards his goal, but all those were quite routine for the in-form German. Used the ball with his feet more than usual tonight. Even if Betis would have attacked, in his current form the German would have kept it out while commanding his area well.
Nelson Semedo: 7/10
Did not have much defending to do all night, but was sharp in his position to cut out any attack when the need arose. Got forward well and contributed decently to the team. Was very dependable throughout the game.
Gerard Pique: 6.5/10
Like Semedo, was hardly tested, but dependable when attacked by Betis. Rock solid throughout and celebrated his new contract with a clean sheet.
Thomas Vermaelen: 6/10
A brief, yet solid performance by the Belgian who succumbed again to the injury jinx that has affected his career very much in the last few years. One nervy moment during the first period when he failed to track Juaquin who missed a great chance where he probably could have scored. Went off injured right before the break to be replaced by Samuel Umtiti.
Jordi Alba: 6.5/10
Solid in defence and maintained his recent good form. Usually, he would be busy providing attacking moves from the left-wing, but not tonight. Against Betis, he was very ineffective in attack but tried his best to get forward at every given opportunity.
Seigi Roberto: 8.5/10
Only a second game in the season where he has started. After signing a new contract last week, he showed exactly what he is capable of and delivered a performance reminiscent of Iniesta tonight. Started on the right side of the attack, but soon moved centrally and had a very good game.
He took the game to Betis and performances like these would boost his confidence and help him feature regularly.
Sergio Busquets: 6.5/10
Sloppy on a few occasions, especially when he lost the ball to Guardado who luckily for him did not score. As the game went on, grew in confidence and stature
Ivan Rakitic: 7.5/10
A complete midfield performance from the Croat. From building up play to being present to snuff out any potential attack, Rakitic was solid throughout in both areas of the pitch. Scored the opening goal and provided one for Suarez to cap off a good performance.
Andre Gomes: 5.5/10
Showed some great touches at times during the game, but was unconvincing in attack most of the game. Credit to him for trying to create something, but many times he did not use the ball well. His overall form was decent, providing good outlet from midfield.
Lionel Messi: 9/10
Barcelona’s talisman! Time and again the Argentine shows the footballing world why he is regarded the best in the business. Two goals and an assist indicate there is no stopping the magician. La Liga’s top scorer this season was at his best and the Betis defence could not handle him.
Luis Suarez: 9/10
Suarez continues his resurgent form in front of goal as he added two more tonight. The goals still keeps him behind Messi in the top scorers chart, but were valuable goals for his side. His through-ball to Rakitic showcased his vision and the attacking side, which is often ignored for his goalscoring exploits. Finished the game with two goals and two assists.
Samuel Umtiti: 6/10
Didn’t have much to do with replacing the injured Thomas Vermaelen. Kept his post guarded against any attack and was solid, if not spectacular at the back.
Came on for the seemingly ineffective Andre Gomes after the second Barcelona goal. Although he did not contribute much to the attack, he did keep the side ticking as well guarding the midfield area with a decent performance.
Gerard Deulofeu: 5/10
Came on with ten minutes left on the clock. Had very less impact on the game, which was more or less won by Barcelona at that time.