Barça defeated Betis to take first place in the Spanish league. /AFP
This Saturday, Barcelona defeated Real Betis (5-0) in the fifth day of La Liga. In order to put pressure on Real Madrid’s leadership and increase confidence, they signed João Félix and Cancelo, and the team’s first exhibition under coach Xavi Hernández took place at the Estadio Olympique Ruiz Companies. Before his Champions League debut.
The league champions did not blame the FIFA virus after the break, instead allowing Betis, who boasted many of their former rivals, to collapse with casualties. With Félix and Cancelo, who were top scorers along with Lewandowski, Ferran and Rafinha, stuck on loan at Barcelona, Barça begin making moves to put their lead at the top of the table and guarantee a future Olympic appearance.
Although Barça did not start with clear ideas or good looks, with João Félix looking for his place and Cancelo not playing, the local team finished the first half with a promising 2-0. Xavi put the last two reinforcements into the eleven, but Barça were put on the back foot due to Isco’s return and Betis’ firepower.
The Malaga man took what appeared to be a clear ball from Kounde and found Luis Enrique to make it 0-1, but shortly after that a mistake from Balde allowed the ball to fall to Ayoze. Barça defended themselves with a monologue in possession, but their depth at left-back did not pay off, with Felix far from the area and Robert Lewandowski somewhat overshadowed.
The local match was played on that side throughout, but Betis were met with pressure and recovery from Cancelo in an attempt to win the ball from the back. On the right side, a cross from Oriol Romeu and some luck against Bellerin led to Félix’s 0-1 goal in the 25th minute, making him his debut scorer for Barça.
Betis opened the door, especially indoors, despite being a few meters down against Barça, who were attracting more attention due to the player on loan from Manchester City. The 2-0 was created by the advances of Cancelo and Félix and the retreat of Pellegrini, who formed an absent eleven with new signings Chadi Riyad and Sergi Altimira.
The Portuguese, on loan from Atlético Madrid, missed Christensen’s assist, leaving Lewandowski isolated. Betis were worried about Rui Silva’s injury, and Willian Jose failed in a one-on-one with Ter Stegen just before half-time. I was able to enter.
When the team restarted, coach Pellegrini, who was celebrating his 70th birthday, brought on Abde, also a former member of the Culle, and was forced to switch goals with the goalkeeper from Vieites’ reserve team. Isco stepped back to receive it, but Barça maintained their advantage with Cancelo as their other midfielder. Betis had to postpone until Barça’s final fireworks.
Phelan reaffirmed himself by making it 3-0 from a free-kick and the change kept the hosts hungry. Rafinha, a luxurious substitute along with Gundogan and Yamal, scored the fourth goal immediately after entering, and Cancelo signed a great presentation in front of a new audience (5-0). Barça liked it, beat Betis without the ball or containment, and are optimistic about their campaign and the wardrobe that is now complicating Xavi for the better.