The leader throws miles in the League. Barça has 50 points, eight more than Madrid — this Thursday they play against Valencia — when they reached the middle of the tournament after defeating Betis in a good game. Around the figure of Pedri, the Catalans wove a performance that was as academic as it was solvent, which was finished off by their strikers Raphinha and the reappeared Lewandowski. The Verdiblancos were more spectators than protagonists, until Koundé scored a surprising own goal, after accompanying the ball with his chest, the first goal received by Ter Stegen in 2023.
Rui Silva, Abner, Pezzella, Luiz Felipe, Aitor Ruibal (Sabaly, min. 77), Fekir (Juanmi, min. 62), Canales, William Carvalho (Guardado, min. 62), Luiz Henrique, Guido Rodríguez and Borja Iglesias ( Willian José, min. 77)
Ter Stegen, A. Christensen, Koundé, Ronald Araújo, Alex Balde, Frenkie De Jong, Busquets, Pedri (Kessié Franck, min. 89), Raphinha (Ansu Fati, min. 80), Lewandowski and Gavi (Ferrán Torres, min. 83)
goals 0-1 min. 64: Raphinha. 0-2 min. 79: Lewandowski. 1-2 min. 85: Koundé (pp).
Referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea
Yellow cards Aitor Ruibal (min. 65), Guardado (min. 66) and Luiz Felipe (min. 69)
red cards William Carvalho (min. 94)
Barça’s intentions are measured from Xavi’s line-ups. The formation of the Super Cup, that of the four midfielders and the four defenders, the one that has Koundé or Araujo as right-back and Balde on the left, predicted a very demanding event and also conveyed a feeling of confidence in Barcelona, which He does not forget the game and the victory against Madrid. The same ones from then faced Betis with the exception of the injured Dembélé, replaced by Raphinha, chosen ahead of Ansu and Ferran.
Pellegrini also has the team made and his novelties are usually on the wings and the goal: Ruibal and Abner occupied the flanks and the goal was Rui Silva the day Fekir returned to form with Luiz Henrique and Canales. The green-and-white grace is in the imbalance of a second line guarded by the power of midfielders Guido and Carvalho. Apparently it is a creative team and, however, it is distinguished more by the few goals it concedes than by the ones it scores. Betis has a certain resemblance to Barça.
The azulgranas took the ball, teamed up and pressed well, and with good circulation they beat Betis’ marks from the start. Football flowed in a neat and harmless way, lacking in risk, easy to defend for a more selective and direct rival, deep on the wings and incisive with Borja Iglesias. In any case, nobody found the last pass or shot at the goal, until Pedri appeared. The goalkeeper herded the ball after a beautiful play by the Tenerife player through a series of dribbles that surprisingly did not end in a shot before Rui Silva mediated.
Betis was waiting on their court to go against it while Barcelona failed to activate a rusty Lewandowski. The inaccuracies favored losses in a game without much control before the spirited fans of Villamarín. The occasions were at the expense of the feet of Fekir and Pedri. Rui Silva intervened again, this time with his foot, to prevent the goal from Tenerife in an action annulled due to an offside that, if he intervened, would surely have corrected the VAR.
The break did not alter the script of the game because both teams felt comfortable on the field and the coaches were convinced of their luck in their reunion after the Super Cup played in Arabia. Pedri insisted and Rui Silva also responded very well. Although they were very neat, the Barça conducts ended in a bad way, without focusing on the goal, when Pedri did not intervene. Nor could the Verdiblanca offense cope with the vigor of the Barcelona defense. Ter Stegen was right to neutralize Fekir when he managed to shoot into the Barça frame.
The contest decidedly decided in favor of the Catalans and forced Pellegrini to intervene. He needed to refresh his team to respond to the rhythm of Barcelona. He had no choice but to replace Fekir because the French international had exhausted himself in his comeback after the injury in the Super Cup. The Barcelona offensive, however, was unstoppable for Betis. Barça ended up reaching the goal after a fast and unbalancing play by Balde whose cross to the far post was finished off by Raphinha.
The play expressed in any case the ambition of Barcelona and De Jong’s bloody hell. The Dutchman quickly took a free kick from Ruibal to Gavi for Balde’s career and caught the Betis rear on the wrong foot. The 0-1 set the Verdiblanco public on fire, very complaining with the referee and spirited with his team, who was about to tie after a ball lost by Borja Iglesias, who slipped when he wanted to assist Juanmi. Lewandowski did not forgive, on the other hand. Following a corner, the Pole scored his 14th goal in the League. The match, however, was not closed due to an error by former Sevilla player Koundé.
In any case, there is no team that manages the minimum results better than Barcelona. Villamarín was no exception after a very well matured game for the Catalans, much improved compared to Girona, along the lines of the Super Cup champion. Barça did not relax or make concessions the day it felt more leader than ever in the League.
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