NEWS
Sunday August 20 2017
Barca cruise past Betis

Barcelona cruised to victory in their La Liga opener on Sunday, beating Real Betis 2-0 with a pair of first-half goals.

Relive the match as it unfolded with Football Espana's liveblog!

Alin Tosca's own goal and a quick-fire second by Sergi Roberto secured Barca a much-needed win as Lionel Messi hit the woodwork three times and Betis failed to test Marc-Andre ter Stegen once.

Gerard Deulofeu and Paco Alcacer partnered false 9 Lionel Messi in a new-look trident for Barca, who were without the injured Luis Suarez.

Elsewhere, Gerard Pique was named a substitute, despite having been passed fit to play, as was Andres Iniesta, while Arda Turan ended his Blaugrana exile to take his place on the bench.

Betis, on the other hand, set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation and gave League debuts to Zouhair Feddal, Victor Camarasa, Andres Guardado, Juan Narvaez and Sergio Leon.

The last time these two sides met was back in January, when Aissa Mandi was wrongly adjudged to have cleared a Jordi Alba shot off the line in a 1-1 draw.

This was also an opening-day fixture last season, the Catalans' famed MSN front line firing them to a 6-2 victory on that occasion.

Silence quickly turned to applause before the game, in remembrance of those who tragically lost their lives during the Barcelona terror attacks earlier in the week.

Back at the tip of Barca’s attack, Messi whipped a free kick onto the roof of Antonio Adan’s, before taking a touch in the Betis D and firing a shot inches wide of the goalkeeper’s left-hand post.

The hosts looked more like their old, ‘tiki-taka’ selves again, but Betis were standing firm and faced little other than the Argentine’s pair of attempts.

However, Deulofeu suddenly grew into the match. His first touch took him past Zouhair Feddal and to the byline, but his low cross was pushed away by Adan.

Messi then curled another free kick onto the post. Adan was beaten, but the former Real Madrid custodian could do little about Deulofeu’s cross-shot, which Tosca touched into his own net.

Straight after a goal-saving tackle from Javier Mascherano to deny Sergio Leon from a certain equaliser, Deulofeu helped himself to another assist, teeing up Sergi Roberto for a neat finish in the Andalusians’ penalty area.

Coming back out for the restart, Messi unleashed a curler towards Adan’s goal, which clipped the post by the slightest of deflections.

Nelson Semedo was making his full, home debut for the Blaugrana, and the Portuguese impressed at right-back, clocking up over 10km with still 25 minutes of the match remaining.

Aleix Vidal was then played through on goal by Messi, with only Adan to beat, but the goalkeeper smothered.

The No 10 would hit the woodwork a third time as his thunderbolt from outside the box shook Adan’s goal but didn’t go in.

There was the chance of a Verdiblanco consolation in stoppage time as Lucas Digne’s touch near his own goal fell straight to an unmarked Fabian Ruiz, but the substitute blazed his shot well over.

Barcelona 2-0 Real Betis

Tosca og 36, Sergi Roberto 39

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Mascherano, Umtiti, Alba (Digne 87); Rakitic, Busquets, Sergi; Deulofeu (Vidal 72), Messi, Alcacer, (Denis 82)

Real Betis: Adan; Barragan, Mandi, Feddal, Tosca; Camarasa (Fabian 78), Guardado; Joaquin, Narvaez (Javi Garcia 68), Nahuel (Francis 72); Sergio Leon

Referee: Trujillo Suarez

Football Italia website