Messi comes off the bench to help Barca beat Betis

Source: Xinhua| 2020-11-08 10:41:54|Editor: huaxia

MADRID, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Lionel Messi came off the bench to play a key role as FC Barcelona beat Real Betis 5-2 on Saturday to claim their first win in five league games.

Messi changed the direction of a game that was very much in the balance after a first 45 minutes in which neither team had been in control.

The Argentinian began the game as a surprise substitute for Barca, with coach Ronald Koeman starting with Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele in attack along with Pedri.

Both sides had early chances, with Griezmann flashing a shot wide for Barca, while Alex Moreno and Cristian Tello both threatened for Betis before Dembele opened the scoring in the 22nd minute.

The winger collected a pass from Griezmann, before cutting inside Moreno and smashing a powerful shot past Claudio Bravo in the Betis goal.

Griezmann then had the chance to double Barca's lead from the penalty spot after Ansu was caught by Aissa Mandi, but Bravo guessed correctly to make a relatively straightforward save.

The miss seemed as if it would be costly when Sanabria took advantage of an error from Gerard Pique to equalize deep into injury-time.

Messi replaced Ansu at the start of the second half and was quickly called into action, making a smart dummy that left Griezmann with a simple chance to atone for his penalty miss and put Barca ahead.

Things got better for Barca on the hour when Mandi was sent off for stopping Dembele's goal-bound shot with his hand, and Messi fired high into the roof of the net.

Loren Moron gave Betis a glimmer of hope with 16 minutes left, but eight minutes later Messi scored his second goal of the game after combining with Sergi Roberto. Just before the end, the Barca full-back set up Pedri for the impressive 17-year-old to make it 5-2. Enditem