Barca keep track with Real Madrid after 3-2 win away to Betis

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-10 06:42:39|Editor: huaxia

MADRID, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona coach Quique Setien enjoyed a winning return to the Benito Villamarin Stadium as his side kept their title challenge alive with a 3-2 win away to his former club Betis.

It was a thrilling game in which Barca twice had to come from behind and both sides had a player sent off.

The game was only five minutes old when Sergio Canales put Betis ahead from the penalty spot after the VAR confirmed that Clement Lenglet had handled Nabil Fekir's shot.

Betis' lead lasted just two minutes before Leo Messi chipped the ball over the home defense for Frenkie de Jong to smash home from close range.

It turned into an open game with neither side in complete control before Fekir took advantage of space in the Barca back line to fire home a low left-foot shot in the 27th minute as Samuel Umtiti failed to close him down.

Barca were struggling to come to grips with Fekir, with Arturo Vidal and Sergi Roberto both picking up yellow cards, but Barca drew level in first half injury time when Busquets was able to sweep home following a Messi free kick with the Betis defense asking for a possible foul in attack from Lenglet.

Joel made a good save from Messi at the start of the second half as Barca looked to take control in midfield. The keeper again denied Messi just after the hour, while the Barca striker saw a chip drift just wide of the post.

Lenglet headed Barca into a 73rd minute lead as he got onto a free kick taken by Messi to loop the ball past Joel, who was also unlucky to slip at the wrong moment.

Betis were then reduced to 10 men after Fekir was shown two yellow cards in a matter of moments; the first for a late challenge on Lenglet and the second for complaining and gesturing his discontent to the referee.

He was soon followed into the dressing room by Lenglet, who was shown a second yellow card for a needless foul on Joaquin Sanchez to leave it 10 against 10 for the last 12 minutes, but Barca were able to keep enough of the ball to deny Betis any chance of an equalizing goal.