Former Real Madrid midfielder Sergio Canales scored the decisive goal as Real Betis beat Barcelona in a dramatic 4-3 thriller.
Nothing was as it usually is at the Camp Nou. With Barcelona conceding four, 37-year-old Joaquin scoring one of them, the usually impeccable Marc Andre ter Stegen allowing another to sail through his hands and Ivan Rakitic being shown a red card – it was a rare old afternoon and Betis deserved to take the spoils.
Lionel Messi was back in the team after his three weeks out with an arm fracture. Malcom kept his place in the side after his first goal for the team in midweek. He was also benefiting from Ousmane Dembele’s absence for disciplinary reasons after failing to show for training in midweek.
Barcelona were stunned by Real Betis on Sunday afternoon, despite Lionel Messi scoring two
Ivan Rakitic was sent off for two yellow cards as Ernesto Valverde’s defensive woes continued
Junior Firpo silenced the Nou Camp by putting the visitors ahead in the 20th minute
Veteran midfielder Joaquin made it 2-0 with a close range finish after another counter attack
Messi pulled one back from the penalty spot after Jordi Alba was brought down in the box
Marc-Andre ter Stegen fumbles the ball as Giovani Lo Celso scores Real Betis’ third goal
Vidal slid in at the far post to fire past the goalkeeper after a team-mate laid it on a plate
Sergio Canales inflicted further misery on the hosts by netting a fourth moments later
Messi pulled another back with Barcelona’s third goal but Betis held on for victory
MATCH FACTS AND LA LIGA TABLE
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets (Alena 69), Arthur (Vidal 46), Messi, Suarez, Malcom (Munir 56).
Subs not used: Semedo, Suarez, Cillessen, Umtiti.
Goals: Messi 68 & 90+2, Vidal 79
Bookings: Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal
Sent off: Rakitic
Real Betis: Lopez, Mandi, Bartra, Sidnei, Tello, Guardado, Carvalho, Firpo, Lo Celso (Inui 87), Moron (Leon 76), Joaquin (Canales 61).
Subs not used: Robles, Feddal, Sanabria, Barragan.
Goals: Firpo 20, Joaquin 34, Lo Celso 71, Canales 83
Bookings: Guardado, Mandi
Sent off: None
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
Malcom linked up well with Messi in Barcelona’s first attack, getting in behind Junior and crossing for the Argentine to shoot wide.
The game was incredibly open from the off with both teams stretching the pitch and Betis used the entire length of it to score their first on 19 minutes.
They built their goal from a Messi corner. Andres Guardado passed to William Carvalho and he played the pass of the game inside Sergi Roberto for Junior to run on to.
Roberto got back infront of the Betis wing-back but could not stop him surprising Ter Stegen with a shot that beat him at his near post. The German keeper was spotted on the Barcelona underground in midweek using public transport – this was mind the gap stuff. The gap at his near post and gaping one down Barcelona’s right where Sergi Roberto was left at Junior’s mercy.
Suarez poses with his three children after collecting October’s Player of the Month award
Lionel Messi recovered from his arm injury to take his place among the Barcelona starting 11
The Barcelona star puts pressure on Sidnei in the corner as the Brazilian tries to clear his lines
Suarez attempts to engineer some space in the Betis box but is tracked by Marca Bartra
Ter Stegen sits on the floor with a look of frustration after conceding yet another goal
Firpo silenced the home supporters after cutting inside and finishing well at the near post
Clement Lenglet headed a Messi free-kick goalwards only for Paul Lopez to push it away for a corner. And Cristian Tello forced Ter Stegen into a good save.
But it wasn’t long before Barcelona, having been undone down one wing were taken apart on the other flank.
Junior was again sent down the right by a Carvalho pass. When his cross ran to Tello the former Barcelona winger pulled the ball back to the veteran Joaquin who beat Ter Stegen with a crisp first time shot.
No one had tracked Tello just as no one had followed Junior. It was death by wing-backs. It was also incredulous that when Tello’s cross was played into Joaquin there were as many as three Betis players unmarked in the area waiting to finish. Barcelona appeared to be defending with their back four and Sergi Busquets, and with no one else.
Betis manager Quique Setien celebrates his side taking a shock lead at the Nou Camp
Firpo had a chance to score his second immediately after but couldn’t make it count
Joaquin runs away in delight after scoring his side’s second goal of the afternoon
Messi cut a frustrated figure after watching his team-mates’ shocking first half defending
Clement Lenglet tries to get onto the end of a free-kick and is pulled back inside the box
Messi halved the deficit with a penalty after Jordi Alba was clipped in the box by Cristian Tello
Barca’s German goalkeeper had an evening to forget and made a huge error for Lo Celso’ goal
Arturo Vidal warmed up at half-time and came on at the restart. He replaced Arthur Melo and Barcelona were suddenly snapping into tackles. Messi flashed a shot just wide and put a corner on Sergi Busquets’ head.
The midfielder’s effort was saved but this was much better from Barcelona although when Messi rolled a free-kick back to Sergi Roberto he skied his shot to groans from all side of the Camp Nou.
Ernesto Valverde took off Malcom and put on Munir El Haddadi. Quique Setien withdrew Joaquin and he was given an ovation by the Barcelona supporters – it’s a shot list of players who have scored at the Camp Nou aged 37. In a long career the former Spain winger had never beaten Barcelona here but he was close now with just 25 minutes left.
Barcelona closed the gap on 67 minutes when Tello pulled back Jordi Alba and Messi smashed the penalty into the roof of Pau Lopez’ net. The reduced margin lasted four minutes when Giovani Lo Celso shot and the ball went through the hands of Ter Stegen. That was Mind the Gap mk II.
Substitute Vidal raced to get the ball as Barca sought a way back into the game
Barcelona’s hopes of taking a point were dashed when Rakitic saw red for a second booking
Canales struck the crushing blow as the former Real Madrid scored a fourth from close range
Messi grabs the ball out the back of the net after hitting his second of the evening
Betis celebrate their impressive victory against the Catalan giants as a team on Sunday
There was surely no way back now but Vidal had not quit and from Messi’s pass he made 3-2. But Rakitic then picked up a second yellow card and gave Barcelona another curve in the road back up the mountain. They were now trying to come back against ten men.
Ter Stegen saved well in a one-on-one with Junior but the wing-back then assisted Canales and the former Real Madrid midfielder, who had come off the bench to join the Betis party, made it 4-2.
Messi got his second of the game after VAR took an age to over-rule the match officials who had ruled the goal out for offside but there were 93 minutes on the clock – no time for fourth home goal. They had been beaten, and for large parts, taught a football lesson.