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Messi Returns But Barcelona Lose 4-3 At Home To Betis

After an undefeated streak dating back to September and the return to action for Lionel Messi, Barcelona would have expected to consolidate their lead in the La Liga table today.

Instead, a shocking defeat to lower table Real Betis occurred at the Nou Camp.

Messi returned to the fold after his arm injury, and as reported, Ousmane Dembele was dropped from the squad altogether. But it was at the other end of the pitch where Barca’s problems began.

Betis, who had won just two of their last seven games, were two goals up within 35 minutes.

Junior Firpo struck first before veteran winger Joaquin doubled Betis’ lead heading into the break.

Arturo Vidal came on for Arthur during the interval, and Malcom made way for Munir soon after, but it wasn’t until the 68th that the home favourites finally posted a goal, and even then it was via the penalty spot.

It looked an incredibly soft decision with Jordi Alba making the most of a feeble challenge, but Messi converted the penalty to halve the deficit.

Just minutes later, Giovani Lo Celso restored the underdogs’ two goal lead. Cristian Tello provided his second assist for the goal, but Ter Stegen in the Barca goal didn’t cover himself in glory.

Substitute Vidal did get one back, but again Betis responded in kind with yet more devastation from the wings, with former Real Madrid prospect Sergio Canales getting their fourth goal – an extraordinary total at the home of the league champions.

Despite this onslaught, all hope wasn’t lost for Ernesto Valverde’s side.

Messi got his second in added time after a clinical team effort that was initially ruled out for offside before VAR came to the rescue.

But they were unable to salvage a point as Real Betis secured their first win over the Catalan giants since 2011.

Barca remain a point ahead of Atletico Madrid, but have squandered their game in hand.

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Author: Chris Kelleher

Student whose interests lie in sports ranging from Darts to MMA, with the likes of Golf, Boxing and Soccer in between. Closet wrestling fan and a lover of sports psychology and stiff jabs.