Substitute Messi helps ‘Barça’ to a much-needed victory, Atlético takes the lead

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FC Barcelona booked their first league victory in more than a month on Saturday. Coach Ronald Koeman’s team was too strong for Real Betis in Camp Nou thanks to two goals from substitute Lionel Messi. Atlético Madrid conquered the lead with a victory over Cádiz.

Messi secures three points, Alético the leader

Messi started on the bench at Barcelona because he was not completely fresh. The Argentinian still completed the ninety minutes in the previous 36 league matches. Frenkie de Jong did play the entire match against Betis.

Without Messi, the Catalans took the lead after more than twenty minutes by a goal from Ousmane Dembélé. The Frenchman cut out his direct opponent and curled the ball beautifully into the left corner.

Ten minutes later, Antoine Griezmann, who hit the post just before, had the perfect opportunity to double the margin. The ball hit the spot after a foul by Aïssa Mandi on Ansu Fati, after which the penalty kick from Griezmann was turned by Claudio Bravo.

Antonio Sanabria found the goal right before half time and brought Betis to the same level. After the interruption, Messi came on the field and within minutes Griezmann gave Barcelona the lead again. He simply tapped in a cross from Jordi Alba.

Lionel Messi fired firmly from the spot. (Photo: ANP)

After an hour of play, the home team received another penalty kick, after Mandi prevented the 3-1 with his arm. The Frenchman received his second yellow card, after which Messi fired the ball from 11 meters into the roof of the goal.

The 33-year-old attacker was again accurate with a hard shot eight minutes before the end, after Loren had reduced the tension on behalf of Betis just before. In the final phase, Pedri determined the final score with a ticker.

For Barcelona it was the first victory in five league matches. In recent weeks, they lost to Real Madrid (1-3) and Getafe (1-0) and played a draw against Deportivo Alavés (1-1) and Sevilla (1-1).

Thanks to the victory, Barcelona climbs to the subtop with eleven points from seven games. The Catalans are six points behind Atlético Madrid, which took the lead on Saturday evening.

The Madrid people won 4-0 against Cádiz in their own Wanda Metropolitano and knocked Real Sociedad out of first place because of a better goal difference. João Félix and Marcos Llorente scored in the first half for Atlético, Luis Suárez and again Felix did that after the break.

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