Substitutes Lionel Messi and Francisco Trincao made the difference as Barcelona came back from a goal down to beat Real Betis 3-2 at the Benito Villamarin.
With the Copa del Rey semi-finals looming, Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman decided to ring in the changes against Real Betis which ended up backfiring as the Catalans struggled to get into the game. And it was the hosts who took the lead at Estadio Benito Villamarin, with Borja Iglesias getting on the end of an Emerson cross in the 38th minute.
Koeman threw on Pedri at half-time while Lionel Messi was also introduced soon after and the Barcelona skipper pulled his back on level terms at the hour mark. Soon after, the Blaugrana were in the lead as Victor Ruiz turned the ball into his own net after Antoine Griezmann had fluffed his lines.
Ruiz soon made amends though, rising the highest to head home Nabil Fekir’s free-kick and bring Real Betis back on level footing. However, Francisco Trincao found the back of the net with three minutes left to seal another comeback win for Barcelona, which sees them move up to second in the La Liga table. Here’s how we rated the performances of Koeman’s men on Sunday night.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7/10
Not a lot he could have done to keep out either of the goals Betis scored on the night. However, ter Stegen did pull off a couple of important stops to deny Ruiz and Loren Moron in quick succession right before Trincao won the game for his side.
Oscar Mingueza: 6/10
Starting ahead of Sergino Dest at right-back, the Barcelona academy product had some early troubles defensively with Betis targeting his flank, but grew into the role with time. Offered a decent outlet going forward and delivered a few teasing crosses while also forcing a save from Joel Robles.
🎙 | #BetisBarça | Óscar Mingueza: "We played against opponents who are difficult, but we have improved our attitude, our character, our desire to win. It is something that gives us a lot of life." pic.twitter.com/qGeJoglkOi
— BarçaTimes (@BarcaTimes) February 7, 2021
Ronald Araujo: N/A
Had to be taken off injured just eight minutes into the game. The Uruguayan has been a pivotal player for Barcelona of late and they will be hoping it is nothing serious.
Clement Lenglet: 6/10
Reinstated to the starting lineup, the Frenchman did what was asked of him without much trouble. Could have done better for the second goal, but a largely error-free display from Lenglet, who also showed good quality while in possession. Missed a great chance to put his team in front in the first half, though.
Jordi Alba: 6/10
Had problems against prospective teammate Emerson, with the Brazilian’s pace troubling him as was evident in the lead-up to Betis’ opening goal. Did not do much of note attacking-wise until Messi came on. Linked up well with the skipper and was involved in the build-up for the second goal, sending in a fine cross for Griezmann.
Miralem Pjanic: 5/10
Preferred ahead of Frenkie de Jong, the Bosnian struggled to get himself into the game. Was fairly accurate with his passing, but lacked that bit of incision and cutting edge that was needed for Barcelona to cut open the hosts’ defence.
I think we should never put out a Midfield of Pjanic and Busi, I feel pity for Puig, he was set up to fail in the sense that no other Midfield was doing the passes at the same speed and also the fact that we have a 18 mil striker playing as a winger to support him..
— AETHON (@aethon99) February 7, 2021
Sergio Busquets: 5/10
Did his defensive duties well, effecting three tackles and two interceptions, but much like Pjanic, he was not incisive enough with his passing and tended to slow things down a bit. Conceded the free-kick and was easily overpowered for the equalising goal in the second half. Booked.
Riqui Puig: 5/10
Handed his first La Liga start of the season after impressing off the bench against Granada earlier in the week, the youngster failed to impose himself on the proceedings. Was a tad bit sloppy on the ball early on, but improved with time. However, he was not able to make any standout contribution. A missed opportunity.
Ousmane Dembele: 7/10
The liveliest Barcelona player, Dembele posed a problem to the Real Betis defence with his direct running and sharp link-up play in the final third. Set Messi up for the equalising goal with a fine pass, but should have done better with a chance later in the game.
Ousmane Dembélé had the most dribbles completed (5) and most chances created (4) against Real Betis. Mesmerizing performance. pic.twitter.com/qwZS6FN6gY
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 7, 2021
Antoine Griezmann: 6/10
A dull first period as he was well-marshalled by the hosts. Allowed more freedom to roam after the break and he showed good intelligence with his movement. Should have scored from Alba’s cross but failed to connect and was lucky that Ruiz diverted the ball into the net. Created a chance for Dembele.
Martin Braithwaite: 4/10
Shunted out wide on the left, the Dane was a peripheral figure and was rightly hooked off at half-time. Did little of note in his 45 minutes on the pitch.
Frenkie de Jong: 6/10
On for the injured Araujo and slotted into the backline. Poor positioning leading up to Betis’ opener but improved with time. Much better once he was moved to midfield in the latter stages. Posted a 100% pass accuracy, completing each of his 83 passes.
Livened things up after his introduction at half-time in place of Braithwaite. Offered more energy and purpose, showed some neat link-up play.
Lionel Messi: 8/10
57’—Messi comes on a sub
59’—Messi scores a goal
68’—Messi’s pass sets up Real Betis OG
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 7, 2021
The Player to Watch in our preview, the Barcelona skipper came on for Puig in the 57th minute and made his presence felt just two minutes in, scoring the leveller with a wonderful finish. Played an exquisite pass into Alba in the build-up to Barcelona’s second goal.
Francisco Trincao: 7/10
On for Pjanic a little before the hour mark. Quiet up until the moment when he stole the ball from an opponent and curled home the winning goal for Barcelona late on. Could not have picked a better time to score his first goal for the Catalans.
Samuel Umtiti: N/A
On for Busquets with a little over ten minutes left.