Barcelona finally played with the sobriety and forcefulness that the leader of the League is supposed to. No more concessions were worth it and the Catalans, always aware of Madrid, woke up at the Camp Nou as soon as they saw the Bernabéu score: 4-2. To the white win, they responded with a scintillating 4-0 against Betis. Barça started the game with an eight-point advantage and finished it with 11. Even Lewandowski was quick to score to keep Benzema at bay in the Pichichi dispute: 19 against 17. The effectiveness was chilling on a rainy night in Barcelona. Betis could say nothing because of Barca’s superiority and because the referee sent off Edgar after half an hour. Everything played in favor of a solvent Barça after recovering the line-up with which they liked in the Super Cup.
Ter Stegen, Alex Balde, A. Christensen (Marcos Alonso, min. 59), Koundé, Ronald Araújo, Pedri (Kessié Franck, min. 72), Busquets, Frenkie De Jong (Ansu Fati, min. 59), Lewandowski, Gavi (Lamine Yamal, min. 83) and Raphinha (Ousmane Dembélé, min. 73)
Rui Silva, Pezzella, Luiz Felipe (Edgar González, min. 12), Juan Miranda (Joaquín, min. 63), Montoya, Luiz Henrique, Guido Rodríguez, Canales (Juanmi, min. 75), Ayoze Pérez (Abner, min. 63), William Carvalho and Willian Jose
goals 1-0 min. 14: A. Christensen. 2-0 min. 35: Lewandowski. 3-0 min. 38: Raphinha. 4-0 min. 82: Guido Rodríguez (pp).
Referee Carlos del Cerro Grande
Yellow cards Edgar González (min. 24)
There was time to applaud, chat and little space to protect yourself from the water at the Camp Nou. The Verdiblanco supporter is very well received at the Barça stadium. There are many béticos in Catalonia, most of them anonymous and some also famous, such as chef Rafa Zafra, who gave dinner to Bruce Springsteen, Steven Spielberg and Barack Obama on Thursday. It is not known of any bético regardless of his profession that does not say that he is from Betis. And Joaquín is of course from Bético, to whom Barça was kind enough to say a few words of farewell, even if it was when there was half an hour left to start the game and there were few people at the Camp Nou.
The figure of Joaquín is associated with duende, art and the ability to surprise in times when football is full of players who seem to come from the same academy, just as predictable, nothing to do with the Betis forward, substitute in the Pellegrini formation. Dembélé is also a virtuous striker who provokes opposing opinions and also warmed up the bench after the injury he suffered three months ago in Girona. Barcelona formed with the best possible lineup with the exception of Dembélé. The Blaugrana people hoped to see a good game after the displeasure of Vallecas that put an end to the good manners that were seen against Atlético.
Perhaps because they needed to recover the best sensations, the Catalans began to touch and pass, to become familiar with the ball without going deep, to dismantle the Betis defense. The goal came in the first shot on goal, after the usual and most intense invocation to Messi yesterday in the 10th minute, when the reappeared Christensen headed in a cross from Raphinha. The memory of Messi weighs more heavily on the fans than the Montjuïc season tickets, the financing of Espai Barça and the closure of Barça TV. Calm prevailed in the stands and on the field while the rain intensified because the Catalans left the game and the ball at the feet of Betis.
Away from the Verdiblanco field, Barça entrusted themselves to their reliable defense and transitions to the open field, a mined scenario for a central defender like Edgar, who knocked down Pedri and earned the second card -the first had been highly debatable- and the expulsion after the intervention of the fourth referee before the indignation of Betis. Barcelona took advantage of the numerical superiority to close the match in a jiffy with two goals, the last one, the 3-0 one with the mediation of the VAR; Lewandowski crossed a cross from Koundé into the net and Raphinha was unmarked to control and finish off a ball filtered by Busquets with his left foot. There were many people who left the pitch at half-time, already 3-0, because they got wet and couldn’t find shelter at the Camp Nou. Although the rhythm slowed down, Barça was pleased by Pedri’s generosity. The man from Tenerife begins to catch the wave of the game after a period of absence and around his passes a good time of football could be seen that Lewandowski did not manage to finish off. The round of changes also allowed the participation of Joaquín, applauded by fans who were equally generous with Dembélé, the player Xavi is in love with. The party stopped when Joaquín was defeated. The player withdrew with his hand on his right knee in the face of pain and the ovation of the Camp Nou.
Betis was left with nine and Xavi took the opportunity to introduce Lamine Yamal, the youngest player to debut for Barça. The winger is 15 years old, one less than Vicenç Martínez, who had the record at 16 since 1941. Yamal failed to beat Rui Silva in a one-on-one after Guido pushed in Ansu’s cross: 4-0. The same goals as Madrid. There are six days left and the countdown begins to sing the alirón at Barça.
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