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Apr 5, 2014

Barca kept their pursuit of the league leaders Atletico Madrid by raking up a not so impressive victory against Real Betis at home. Two penalties from Lionel Messi and an own goal gave Barca 3-1 victory. The team was no where near its best but still the three points gained again was vital as Atletico Madrid won earlier. Real Betis played well for most of the part and would consider themselves pretty unlucky having to concede two soft penalties and an own goal. Martino went with a very strong side against the bottom placed Real Betis. Neymar, Alba and Cesc were omitted from the starting line-up ahead of Wednesday's 2nd leg match against Atletico Madrid. Pinto, Alves, Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Alexis, Messi and Pedro all started at the Camp Nou.

In the 10th minute Bartra had Barca's first good chance but failed to hit his header on target from a corner. In the 11th minute Barca split open Betis' defense with a trademark slick passing move but Real Betis' keeper pulled out a brilliant save to deny the final Xavi shot on target. Barcelona was piling up huge pressure on Real Betis with the constant wave of pressure and was rewarded with an opener in the 13th minute. The opening goal came from a Messi penalty which was awarded after Sanchez was brought down in the box. In the 21st minute Alves came close to doubling Barca's lead but failed to make contact to an excellent cross from Adriano. In the 31st minute Xavi was once again denied by the keeper after Pedro finds him with a good cross. In the 33rd minute Messi made a brilliant run through the right and squared the ball from the touch line, but Betis defenders were aware to the danger. In the 35th minute Adriano tried his luck from outside the box, but the shot went a bit high. In the 41st minute Lionel Messi's exquisite curler went high over the far post. The first half ended without any more notable action. Real Betis were able to create some of decent half chances but as we have seen in this season, they struggled to make anything out of it. Barca meanwhile, was struggling get out of the third gear.

In the 50th minute Lionel Messi played a great ball playing Pedro through on goal on the left, but his shot at goal brilliantly blocked by keeper. The very next minute Xavi hit the crossbar with a very well taken free kick. In the 55th minute Bartra had to make a brilliant intervention from Betis creating danger. In the 63rd minute Pinto was forced to make a brilliant save to deny Real Betis from equalising. In the 67th an unfortunate own goal from Jordi made the score 2-0. One had to comment the contribution of Adriano whose through ball forced that own goal. That two goal lead had a short life as Ruben Castro pulled one back for Betis in the 68th minute after a brilliant run and finish which made our defense look like Sunday league. That goal was very much fair on Real Betis' as they were the better team since the start of second half. In the 77th minute Sanchez shot high after being played on by Messi on the right. Even though the angle was tight, everyone expected to make the keeper work. In the 78th minute Martino made a double change, bringing Fabregas and Neymar in for Iniesta and Pedro respectively. In the 85th minute Barca was awarded another penalty after the referee adjudged Juanfran to have handled the ball in the box. Again the award of penalty could be termed a bit harsh. The keeper made a brilliant save off Messi's spot kick but unfortunately the rebound fell back to Messi who put it back in goal. In the 87th minute Xavi was taken off for Song.

Many players were actually playing below par tonight and it has to be seen whether the toil of tonight have any effect on Wednesday. Pedro who had a chance to make a claim for a starting place played really poorly. Messi despite his two penalties were extremely poor and have to say that we need him to be in top form on Wednesday. We may not have much to worry about as it is expected the team will drop the intensity against lesser opponents. The important thing is that it should not hurt us in terms of points and in that sense tonight was a grand success.

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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