Real Betis 1-2 Barcelona: Raphinha and Lewandowski send Blaugrana eight points clear

By Sports Desk February 01, 2023

Barcelona moved eight points clear at the top of LaLiga as goals from Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski clinched a 2-1 win against a combative Real Betis side at Estadio Benito Villamarin.

Betis – themselves in the hunt for Champions League qualification – frustrated the leaders for over an hour on Wednesday, with Manuel Pellegrini's men defending resolutely and Pedri missing two good chances.

However, Raphinha bundled in a delivery from the impressive Alejandro Balde, before Lewandowski converted following a corner to put Xavi's side in control.

Jules Kounde's late own goal ensured a nervy ending, but Barca held on to pile more pressure on Real Madrid ahead of their fixture against Valencia on Thursday.

Luiz Henrique saw a shot deflect narrowly wide as Betis edged a scrappy opening, before the offside flag foiled Raphinha when he nodded in Frenkie de Jong's inviting cross after 33 minutes.

Barcelona improved before the interval, but they were denied by a strong save from Rui Silva when a fortunate deflection sent Pedri through on goal.  

Pedri drew another reflex save from Silva within three minutes of the restart after being teed up by Balde's cut-back, before Barca finally made the breakthrough 65 minutes in.

Balde was involved once again with a driving run down the left after a quick free-kick, teeing up Raphinha for a tap-in with a powerful low cross.  

Lewandowski – playing his first league game of 2023 after serving a three-match ban – doubled Barca's lead with 10 minutes left, swivelling to find the bottom-left corner after Ronald Araujo's flick-on.

Betis ensured a tense finish when Kounde bizarrely netted at the wrong end with five minutes remaining, but Barca held on for their fourth successive league win.

 

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    Leeds (3rd, played 43, 87 points, +42 goal difference)

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