It doesn’t feel like it, but La Liga is in fact still in sight for Barca.
They came into tonight’s match 8 points behind Girona, who stand second in the league, and 11 points behind Real Madrid, who rose to the top after an extremely controversial comeback win against relegation candidate Almeria.
If Barca won, they’d slash their deficit to the leaders and holders of second in the league to single digit points. That might not mean much, but staying competitive in a league race that can still be won is important, because maybe your fortunes change and the leader and holders of second slip up.
That’s unlikely to happen, but it’s not impossible, so a win tonight against Real Betis would do some good.
It wouldn’t be easy though, as Barca was set to play at the Benito Villamarín Stadium, which possesses one of the more intense atmospheres in Spanish football.
So, let’s see how Barca fared.
Things started well for Barca, as they found a way to penetrate the middle of Betis’ defense, therefore allowing them to roam freely and play the way they like to play.
There wasn’t a lot of end product early on, as Barca were a step too slow or a step too fast when it came to delivering that final pass or final shot. But the pressure was building and that at least was a good sign.
In the 21st minute, Barca finally got their goal they worked hard to find, as it was a familiar face who tallied another goal to add to his comeback campaign.
Ferran Torres attacks
This was probably the easiest goal for Torres, as he simply ran cross the face of goal and delivered the end of an easy pass from Pedri.
1-0 Barca and they were hunting for more.
Honestly though not much developed after this goal. Betis continued to struggle while Barca continued to prowl, hunting for the slightest of chances to take advantage of. But additional goals didn’t come as a result, leaving Barca to stay content with a 1-0 lead heading into halftime.
Barca needed to turn up the pressure if they wanted to hold onto this lead, as Betis can create some magical moments whenever they have their home crowd behind them.
Would they be able to do so? Yes, but not without some bumps along the road.
The second half was a gigantic bundle of chaos for both Barca and Betis.
There were goals galore, moments where each team looked like they were ready to take control, and finally a finish worthy of this rollercoaster of a match.
First up was another Ferran Torres goal, with this one being a little more difficult than his first. All the work started with Lamine Yamal — who had a top class display by the way — who made a fantastic dribble down the right flank.
His ensuing pass flashed off the outside of the crossbar, but it found its way to the feet of Torres, who slotted it home to give Barca a 2-0 lead.
This goal felt more “difficult” per say, because of the amount of traffic around the open net. But Torres indeed slotted it home, giving Barca a double digit goal lead.
But this is where things got a little scary for Barca. And I don’t use the word scary lightly, I use it with full intent.
Betis score 2 in rapid fashion
Because 8 minutes after Torres’ second goal, Betis decided to flip the tables and go ballistic in terms of scoring goals.
The first was scored by Isco, who took advantage of poor keeping by Iñaki Peña — went for the punch even though Ronald Araujo was in perfect position to clear it, just bad communication — and sent in a thunderous shot that flew past Peña and into the back of the net.
And just like that, the Benito Villamarín Stadium was rocking. Remember when I said Betis can create some magical moments when their home crowd is behind them? Yeah, this was one of those moments.
Just 3 minutes later, Betis scored again to equalize, and it was Isco once again as the topic of discussion. This time it was more of a wacky goal, as Borja Iglesias looked to make a play on the ball while he was offsides, leading to Isco carefully lofting a shot over Peña and into the . But VAR apparently didn’t agree, as the goal stood and the scoreline stood at 2-2.
Betis was right back in it, Barca looked a little flustered, and the impending result wasn’t looking too good for Barca. This is a moment Barca had crumbled in far too many times this season, so it wasn’t unwise to expect them to do the same.
However, Barca did the exact opposite, instead fighting through the adversity and clawing out a moment we hope can represent as a turnaround point for this season.
Barca pull 2 late goals out of their hat
In fact, this special moment was highlighted by two important goals.
The first one being given to us by Joao Felix, who was a late substitute and an eventual difference maker. He linked up with Ferran Torres on a counterattack, receiving the ball a little ways away from the goal, before unleashing a nasty trivela finish into the bottom left corner, giving Barca a 3-2 lead.
These are the moments of brilliance that make you frustrated with Felix. When he’s on, these are more consistent and you can understand why clubs keep believing in his talent. It’s when he’s off, is when you get frustrated and question why clubs want him in the first place.
I’m still of the opinion that Barca shouldn’t spend luxurious amounts of money to permanently bring him to Barca. But if he can just stay consistent, maybe the conversation gets a little stronger.
After this goa, Barca had one more in them to effectively seal the win. And it was Ferran Torres who did the job, securing the hat trick in the process. It was a simple counterattack once again, which left Torres 1v1 with the Betis keeper.
Ferran kept his composure, before lofting a beautiful chip shot past the keeper and into the net.
After that, it was easy pickings for Barca, who coasted to a 4-2 win.
A big win to help their confidence, which will hopefully help their overall form over the next few weeks and beyond.
Rollercoaster is the word I’d use to describe this game. Leading, equalized, then leading again, I mean how can you live like that? Nonetheless, big win for Barca and big time performance by Ferran Torres.
Many forget, he was in shambles last season, going through the worst stretch of play throughout his career while fighting through criticism from media and tribalistic fans.
But he came into this season with a strong mind, a strong heart, and better yet more consistency. What we’re seeing now are the results and Barca couldn’t be happier.
Also big shouts to Pau Cubarsi, who put in a very decent shift. 16 years old…can you believe that? Also very big shout to Lamine Yamal, who once again showcased his ridiculous ability at 16, while also proving to be Barca’s best wing option
Once again, ridiculous.
Barca’s next match
Barca’s next match will be on Wednesday night, as Barca head into the San Mames to take on Athletic Bilbao in the quarterfinals of the Copa Del Rey.
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!