After a well timed international break, Barca returned to action on Saturday night against Real Betis.
This match was important for a few reasons:
- Barca’s first match after some mildly concerning showings before the international break
- A win would guarantee Barca keeping up with Real Madrid
- This is the match before Barca begins their UCL campaign
And with this match coming against a tough opposition in Betis, you can only imagine the importance this match really held.
So how did Barca fare? Let’s find out
Throughout the first 20 minutes, Barca appeared a bit rusty and a bit confused as new faces were inserted into the starting lineup.
Joao Felix was trying to get adjusted to his new role, as well as the movements and demands of his forward partner Robert Lewandowski. Vice versa for Lewandowski, who was trying to adjust to Felix’s role as an inverted forward and his movements that came awfully close to the space Lewandowski is used to operating in.
These were the concerns some had, while the first stages of Felix’s integration began. But as the game went on, they expectedly figured it out and found multiple ways to make Barca’s attack look dangerous up top.
The first instance was on display during the 25th minute mark, when Felix opened his tally as a new Barca player.
Felix’s first goal for Barca
In this instance, it was Lewandowski who helped set up Felix’s first goal.
The Polish star occupied some valuable space just outside of Betis’ penalty area, freeing up space in behind for Felix to run into. All that was left was for Felix to receive a good pass, which he did from Oriol Romeu.
Felix attemped a first time finish, but he failed. However, he didn’t stop working, as his then found the ball at his feet but at an extremely tight angle. The odds looked out of Felix’s favor, but he erased all doubt by putting in a very good goal.
It was a good example of how good this partnership can be between Felix and Lewandowski. As both understand space in the attacking phase and have the capability to combine and create good attacking sequences.
But their magic didn’t stop there, as it was Felix this time who found a way to set up Lewandowski.
The action started with Andreas Christensen, who bombed forward from his centerback spot and into the heart of Betis’ midfield.
Christensen then fired a pass towards Felix, but Felix instinctively let the ball roam through his legs and onto the foot of a waiting Lewandowski. Lewandowski then took a touch, fired a shot off the post, and into the back of the net.
How’s that for fluid football, eh?
It was a dream start for Barca, who had struggled to create consistent chances before the international break began. They found their mojo and it seemed like there was more to come with all the fluidity that was being showcased.
But before Barca had a chance to add any more, halftime arrived with the score line remaining 2-0. Barca looked great, but Betis is still a good team with loads of quality.
If they kept up this effort in the second half, they’d surely dispatch Betis and get a good win to start off this next phase of the season.
Would they do it?
There was a bit of downtime between Barca’s last goal and their next, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
There was at least one instance when Barca appeared to have scored their third goal, but it was disallowed due to offsides. After that though, Barca kept clawing, before finally scoring their third goal.
But it wasn’t scored in a traditional way.
Ferran Torres with a stunner
After a foul, Barca received a free kick in an advantageous situation. They’ve been in this spot plenty of times before, but due to the consistent nature of failure, no one really expected anything to come out of it.
I mean, Barca hasn’t scored a direct free kick goal since May of 2021, and it was scored by none other than Lionel Messi. So can you really blame anyone for having some pessimism?
But this season has been full of irregularities, so much so that someone scoring a free kick for Barca wasn’t out of the ordinary. Luckily for us though, the ordinary wasn’t the norm.
Torres unleashed a stunner of a free kick, wrapping his foot around the ball and gearing it around the wall, past the keeper, and into the bototm right corner of the net.
Talk about a fantastic goal and a fantastic moment for a player that has been striving to be better.
The action didn’t stop there though, no the action was only beginning. This goal marked the start of a 3 goal outburst for Xavi’s men, with the 4th one arriving soon after Torres’ beauty.
Raphinha scores right after
Next up on the score sheet was Raphinha, who found some very good form during international duty with Brazil.
The Brazilian’s goal was a classic one per say, with his powerful left foot unleashing a gorgeous effort that guided itself towards the bottom right corner of the net.
It was a good moment for Raphinha, whose status within the squad felt a bit uncertain due to the emergence of Lamine Yamal. The club knows Yamal can’t start or even play every match, so Raphinha being deployed as a dependable asset on the right side has to be held with more importance during the present and future as well.
We weren’t done with the action yet though.
Barca still had one goal on their mind after Raphinha’s strike and it came from another summer arrival that had been pushing to join Barca.
Just like his Portuguese counterpart.
Cancelo with a special, special goal
The last goal came from Barca’s other Portuguese arrival, as it was João Cancelo who gave the fans at the Montjuic another thing to cheer about. Cancelo started with a forward one — one of many he made throughout the match — before putting on a pretty impressive display of dribbling.
Cancelo then faked a shot with his left foot, before dragging it back to his right, then firing a powerful shot into the back of the net.
It was a fitting end to a great match. A goal that could be described as eye catching fireworks, signaling the conclusion of another great attraction that only football can create.
Very good returning match for Barca.
Before the international break, Xavi had faced a lot of questions regarding Barca’s attacking quality on the pitch. It’s only one match, but he found a way to hush the doubters and return to the attacking based beauty that had so many excited about Xavi’s future just a couple of years ago.
We’ll have to see if he can keep it up, especially with the Champions League approaching rather quickly. But for now, a great win for Barca and a good way to return from a much needed break.
Barca’s next match
See you all then!
I’ve been a big time Barca fan since I was 14 years old. I love the club, the history, and the tradition that the club has built over its prestigious history. Forca Barca!