Barcelona welcomed Real Betis to Camp Nou this afternoon in a crucial clash in La Liga. They went into the game hoping for three points, but instead lost for the first time since Xavi took over from Ronald Koeman after putting up a below-par performance.
The result means that Barcelona failed to take their opportunity to leapfrog Rayo Vallecano and move into the top six, and will instead end the day seventh. They’re now six points off Atletico Madrid and the top four and 13 behind leaders Real Madrid.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 4, 2021
Betis, incredibly, are now in third in the league table, a point behind neighbours Sevilla and just six off Madrid. Manuel Pellegrini has assembled an interesting and well-balanced squad down in Andalusia, and they’ve managed to balance their domestic commitments with participation in the Europa League.
Betis took their decisive lead in the 79th minute. Sergio Canales led a lightning-quick break down the right wing before cutting inside to find former Barcelona man Cristian Tello, who quickly played the ball to Juanmi, who finished coolly.
“I think when the team was at its best, we conceded the goal,” Xavi said post-match in comments carried by Marca. “We have to stop those counter-attacks. They’re the moments where we have to be more tactical. We knew about Betis’ transitions.
93’ ⏱⚽ ¡¡FINAAAAAAL!! 👏👏 ¡Final del partido con victoria verdiblanca! 😊💃
— Real Betis Balompié 🌴💚 (@RealBetis) December 4, 2021
“We had 20-25 very good minutes, and it’s a shame, too much of a punishment for the game we played. It’s a defeat that hurts, especially at home. But this is football. Just as we suffered at Villarreal and won, today the opposite has been the case.
“We have to be more Barcelona in the second half and stop those counter-attacks. The team didn’t deserve to lose. These are finals for Barcelona. I don’t like to lose and we didn’t deserve to, so of course I’m concerned. We have to keep adjusting things, keep working. We can’t allow a goal like that. We’ve been together for a short time, but it’s a shame not to get a point today.”