Barcelona kicked off against Betis in the unusual position of trailing them in the La Liga table, something that hadn’t happened since February 2003. With so much on the line as both push for the top four, there were very few clear-cut opportunities on offer in a cagey first half. Phillippe Coutinho had the best chance for the hosts, squandering a huge chance from close range after Jordi Alba picked him out inside the box. There was cause for concern for Xavi on the sidelines, but that wasn’t limited to his side’s performance after seeing Gavi stretchered off before HT.
Barça continued to struggle after the break, leaving Betis goalkeeper Rui Silva little more than an interested spectator. In fact, the hosts managed only one shot on target in the first 70 minutes at the Camp Nou. Manuel Pellegrini’s side could sense there was an opportunity for a rare win over the Catalan giants. Early on in the second half, Betis sliced the defence open and found the back of the net as Juanmi totally wrong-footed Marc-André ter Stegen. However, the forward was offside by the finest of margins, to the relief of a very anxious home crowd.
Despite a couple of near-misses from Ousmane Dembele, the visitors went up the other end and found a goal that won them all three points. The Barça defence was far too open, allowing a quick Betis counter which saw Cristian Tello come back to haunt his former club, as he slotted in Juanmi to coolly finish beyond ter Stegen. Yet another disappointment leaves Barcelona six points behind fourth-placed Atlético Madrid,