Real Betis 1 FC Barcelona 2

betis 1-2 barcelona messi record 86 goals in 2012Leo Messi’s 85th and 86th goals of 2012 earned Barça a tremendously exciting 1-2 victory over a valiant Betis side tonight to stay six points clear of Atlético Madrid at the top of La Liga. Following Barça these days means we always seem to be talking about one record or another but there is something very special about Messi’s astounding achievement to beat Gerd Müller’s 1972 record of goals scored in one calendar year.

Messi overcame the knock on his knee to lead the attack with Pedro on the right and Iniesta on the left. Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas started in midfield, while at the back we began with Adriano, Piqué, Puyol and Jordi Alba. However, after just eight minutes Fabregas pulled a thigh muscle which could see him out of action for three to four weeks, and Alexis Sanchez came on, taking the left wing position with Iniesta moving back to midfield.

Betis had the better of the early exchanges, playing a high defence they looked very compact for the first fifteen minutes while trying to break quickly. After just three minutes Joel Campbell sent in a cross from the right and Castro’s diving header forced Valdés into the first save of the game. On another break Salva Sevilla broke through the middle and there was a moment of concern when the ball hit Piqué’s hand just outside the area but the ref Carlos Velasco Carballo waved play on.

Messi had not been very involved and he twice lost the ball after a poor control. However, on 15 minutes, Xavi played the ball out to Alexis on the left and after receiving the return switched play inside to Iniesta who played the ball on to Messi who was thirty yards from goal. With a quick burst of acceleration Messi set off on a diagonal run into the left of the area, the defence couldn’t stay with him as Amaya got in Dorado’s way, Messi kept going into the area and then whipped a shot back that went through Chica’s legs and across the goalkeeper Adrian and into the far corner. Out of nowhere Barça were ahead and Müller’s record of 85 was equalled.

betis 1-2 barcelona messi goal recordThe game changed after the first goal with Barça taking complete control. Iniesta came close with a delightful chip that Adrian did well to tip over, and soon after Adriano made a surge into the area and Juan Carlos was injured in his lunge to intervene. For some reason Betis took six minutes to bring on Vadillo and while they were down to ten men Barça took advantage to go two up. Adriano had been freed of his marker and he made a run forward through a more central position before touching the ball on to Messi 30 yards out. Messi sent a pass forward into the area for Iniesta who controlled before flicking the ball back to Messi who fired in an almost identical shot to the first goal and Müller’s record was conquered.

Messi might have had a third but he was incorrectly called offside after being sent clean through. And as Barça continued to dominate Xavi drove in a 25-yard swerver that Adrian managed to palm out for a corner. However, Barça’s period of dominance came to an end in the 39th minute when Betis pulled a goal back after Alba failed to move out with the rest of the defence and Vadillo slipped a pass through for Castro who showed a cool finish, side-footing past Valdés into the far corner. The first half ended at a terrific pace as the reanimated Betis came looking for an equalizer.

Both teams made another substitution at half time with Mascherano replacing Puyol who felt a niggle and came off as a precaution, while Jorge Molina replaced Campbell for Betis. Barça struggled to regain control of the game and Betis began to create more chances. In the 51st minute Sevilla hooked in a looping cross and Valdés found the crossbar in the way as he jumped for the ball which broke between the keeper and Castro about a yard out, as Castro tried to force it in the ball again hit the post and Valdés managed to smother the rebound.

betis 1-2 barcelona xaviBetis were looking the hungrier team and they were pushing further forward now. Castro had one shot blocked by Piqué but managed a second bite after Busquets’ hesitation but fired straight at Valdés, and soon after Mascherano got caught in possession and was forced into conceding a corner by Molina’s pressing. Pedro and Alexis were working hard up front with little luck and Alexis was victim of some rough treatment from the Betis defenders. However, when we are struggling to play there is always Iniesta who showed great vision to send a vertical pass for Messi to chase but Adrian was alert to rush 30 yards out of his goal to clear.

It was a brief moment from Barça. In the 69th minute Adriano gave away a corner on the left, Beñat swung the ball into the near post where a group of players jumped for the ball which seemed to flick off Mascherano and then off Piqué before flying across the goal, hitting the far post and flying back to Valdés who held on well just a yard off his line. As time ticked away there was always the chance that Barça could score on the break and in the 77th minute Alexis sent a crossfield ball to Pedro who had to slightly adjust his stride which meant he didn’t get the best shot and Adrian saved.

betis 1-2 barcelona messi 86 goal recordIt was tremendously exciting stuff now and Betis again hit the post with ten minutes remaining when Pozuelo blasted the ball from 20 yards against the outside of the upright. It was awful luck for Betis but then they were themselves saved by the woodwork when first Adrian and the post combined to prevent Messi’s hat-trick and Alba, following-up, inexplicable sent the ball against the crossbar from about three yards out. It might have been a costly miss but Betis were running out of steam. Thiago should have scored near the end after Messi’s assist. And then in one final push Betis won a corner in injury time with keeper Adrian coming forward, though Molina’s header went well over. It was a very nervy second half but Barça held on for three very important points.

Betis: Adrian; Chica, Amaya, Dorado, Nacho; Beñat, Cañas; Campbell (Molina m45), Sevilla (Pozuelo m74), Juan Carlos (Vadillo m29); Ruben Castro.

Barça: Valdés 6.5; Adriano 6.5, Piqué 7.5, Puyol 6.5 (Mascherano m45, 6), Alba 6; Xavi 7, Busquets 7, Fabregas — (Alexis m9, 6); Pedro 6 (Thiago m82, –), Messi 8, Iniesta 8.5,

Goals: m16 Messi 0-1, m25 Messi 0-2, m39 Castro 1-2.

Yellow cards: m37 Campbell, m61 Alba, m63 Vadillo, m76 Pedro, m89 Nacho.

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9 Responses to Real Betis 1 FC Barcelona 2

  1. layibiyi says:

    whew! what a game!
    Congrats to messi!

  2. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    UNBELIEVABLE!! Messi breaks Muller’s record in the most unexpected game. Its remarkable how he recovered from the ‘bruise’ and scored both goals. UNBELIEVABLE!!
    I am really grateful + ecstatic to witness such a great player and such a moment.

    Moving on about the match – I must mention that we lost a significant amount of grip in the match in the 2nd half. The element of control that we had in the first vanished. Our performance in the 2nd half of the match was well below par.

    Adriano seemed better when he drifts in from the right rather than hugging the line and supplying crosses. Mascherano doesn’t quite have the impact of Puyol at the back. Despite the age factor Captain marvel is still our best bet to play alongside Pique at the back in key encounters this season(unless Bartra improves/given more chances to step up to the plate)

    Thiago seems to lack finishing instincts. He has to work on this part of his game.

    Pedro worked really hard. Still a little lack in confidence infront of goal.

    Sanchez although just back from injury was still under performing.

    Tito ?? I thought the subs he made was pretty poor. Alexis ahead of Villa for this match?? Why?? I really don’t understand. Betis were starting to pound us in the 2nd half…and we could have done alot better with a Alex Song instead of Thiago. Alex is much steadier in defence and could have made our midfield more compact and stable in such events.

    Overall, i’m glad we got all 3 points and the fact that Messi is now all time top goalscorer in a calender year, but i’m far from confident of our team’s chance in the Champion’s League in particular,,this season. If we don’t solve our 2nd goalscorer issue and if we don’t get someone better than Mascherano to replace Puyol at the back, i fear we’ll be in for a hard time in Europe’s elite club competition.

  3. FCB-Parbo says:

    Yaay MESSIIIII!!! Like Pep once said, Messi will set records that will never be broken. This is one of them and he’s not done yet.
    Yes he’s alright, glad that he played though.

    Betis played very dirty, especially on Alexis. It was a very nervy match and I’m happy we got the 3 points.
    Really, its time the other forwards help with the scoring. Messi can’t always do it by himself.
    Pedro and Alexis should start scoring now. Man, their confidence are so low atm. Ah well, we are alright up till now.
    (It’s so frustrating and difficult to type on a BB)

    Visca Barca!!!

  4. Pingback: Real Betis 1 FC Barcelona 2 | The power of plants

  5. Caleb says:

    Awesome!! Messi!!

    Pedro needs to score a goal soon or he will not keep his starting spot. We need another forward to start scoring goals.

    This was a tight game and a really important win. Hats off to Betis for a spirited effort!

  6. ewe_gb says:

    don’t let yourself get fooled by messi’s fantastic record. the front line is, as a front line, right now a joke. and everybody here knows it – or why would we have all been so shocked by messi’s incident on wednesday? because we know that we do not know who would score goals on a regular basis if messi is out.

    and no: this is not only a sign of messi’s supremacy it is also a sign that the team is imbalanced at the front.

    and to be quite clear: for the money paid for a forwad, sanchez is a flop! no way to put it differently.

    pedro was in form and has lost it again in this season – I don’t know why. he scores when he is with the national team.

    and then there is the villanova – villa story: I have got no clue whatsoever what could justify villa’s sidelining, especially now that cesc is out for three to four weeks.

    cesc could score, so also not on a regular basis.

    as somebody here or in a different barca-forum has already written: that could get a major hindrance for aiming to win the cl.

    not to forget the shaky defence.

    just – imho.

  7. Was tensed like all Messi fans. Finally, he made it 🙂

  8. Pingback: Preview: Real Betis vs FC Barcelona (game 13 liga 2013/14) | barçacentral

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