Barcelona survived a fierce Real Betis comeback to snatch a dramatic 4-2 victory away from home and claim the first La Liga scalp of the usually invincible Verdiblancos.
Under immense pressure following a string of inconsistent results, Xavi’s team faced a daunting task against an unbeaten Betis unit buzzing at home. Early signs were ominous for Barca, with Isco carving open the defense to set up Luiz Henrique, only for the Brazilian to sky his effort in wasteful fashion.
But the tide soon turned. Barca seized control, and Pedri, fed by Frenkie de Jong, mirrored Henrique’s earlier miss with a looping shot that sailed over the bar. The pressure eventually paid off midway through the half when Pedri tapped in after Ferran Torres deflected İlkay Gündoğan’s pass into his path. The goal buoyed Barca, and they nearly doubled their lead before the break, but Lamine Yamal’s powerful strike found the post instead.
The second half started brightly for Barca, with Yamal’s deflected cross rebounding perfectly for Torres to bag his second and seemingly put the game to bed. However, Betis had other ideas. Within three minutes, Isco transformed from villain to hero, first thundering a shot into the roof of the net and then finishing a clipped cross with a delightful stretch volley to level the score.
The game hung in the balance, but Barca had the final say. Substitute Joao Felix conjured up a moment of magic in the 90th minute, curling a beautiful shot past Rui Silva with the outside of his boot. As Betis desperately pushed for an equalizer, they were caught on the break, allowing Torres to complete his hat-trick and seal a vital victory for Barca.
The win sends Barca soaring into the top four, while Betis, with just one win in their last seven, find themselves four points adrift of the European places. The pressure intensifies for Manuel Pellegrini’s side, while Xavi can breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate Torres’ heroic performance.
Man of the Match: Ferran Torres (Barcelona)