Barcelona 5-2 Real Betis: Griezmann double lights up Camp Nou

By Sports Desk August 25, 2019

Antoine Griezmann scored his first Barcelona goals as Ernesto Valverde's side recorded a thumping 5-2 LaLiga win over Real Betis on Sunday.

Griezmann endured a disappointing debut in last weekend's surprise 1-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao, but the €120million signing from Atletico Madrid – leading the line in the absence of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez – announced himself to the Camp Nou faithful in style.

Nabil Fekir had given Betis a shock 15th-minute lead before Griezmann turned the game on its head either side of half-time with two fine finishes.

Barcelona did not look back after his second, adding further goals through Carles Perez – his first for the club – Jordi Alba and Arturo Vidal before Loren Moron's wonderful late consolation for the visitors.

Barca started sharply, going close through Sergi Roberto and Griezmann, but it was the visitors who struck first.

The hosts lost possession cheaply in the middle of the pitch, allowing Loren Moron to feed the marauding Fekir. The former Lyon man pulled away from Alba and dispatched a clinical left-footed strike from 16 yards into Marc-Andre ter Stegen's bottom-left corner.

Barca came agonisingly close to restoring parity 10 minutes before the interval when Rafinha's close-range effort was diverted narrowly past the post by the outstretched leg of Sidnei.

They did pull level in the 41st minute, however, Griezmann stretching superbly to meet Roberto's clipped ball over the top and volley past Dani Martin.

Roberto was the provider again for Griezmann's second in the 50th minute, the France international whipping a glorious left-footed strike past Martin from 18 yards.

Barcelona were well and truly in the mood and scored a third six minutes later when Perez skipped past his marker and coolly slotted past a helpless Martin from just inside the area.

The Betis goalkeeper picked the ball out his net again just four minutes later, this time from Alba. The left-back surged into the penalty area, collected Sergio Busquets' pass and slid past the beleaguered Martin.

Barca eased off in the final 30 minutes, but they did add a fifth in the 77th minute when substitute Vidal expertly steered into the roof of the net from 10 yards after being picked out by Griezmann.

The final goal was one from Betis, with Moron firing a wonderful strike into the top corner from 25 yards in the 79th minute, although it did little to detract from a fine Barca win.

What does it mean? Barca's attack in rude health

It was not all plain sailing for Barcelona – they were badly exposed at the back for Fekir's opener – but there was enough on show to suggest the Catalan giants will once again be the side to beat in LaLiga this season. The thought of Messi and Suarez joining Griezmann in attack is sure to give defenders across Spain sleepless nights.

Griezmann introduces himself in style

The World Cup winner took full advantage of Messi and Suarez's absences, leading the line superbly and opening his account with two typically efficient finishes.

Pique endures landmark game to forget

Across 500 games for Barcelona, Gerard Pique has firmly cemented his place as one of this generation's finest defenders. Little of his legendary composure was on show against Betis, however, with the 32-year-old looking surprisingly shaky against Fekir and friends.

What's next?

Barca will hope to make it back-to-back wins when they visit Osasuna on Saturday, while Betis host Leganes on the same day.

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    When Gennaro Gattuso replaced Carlo Ancelotti, he retained faith in Fabian despite his issues, though his form didn't improve particularly with the alteration from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3.

    Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport blasted Fabian just last month, suggesting there was a link between his form and the apparent interest of Barca, before saying his "slowness is embarrassing, almost penalising for Napoli's actions".

    But there's a feeling in Italy that Napoli's signing of midfield competition in Diego Demme and Stanislav Lobotka have coaxed a positive reaction from the Spaniard.

    With two goals in his past three matches, including excellent performances against Inter and Brescia, Fabian seems to have settled again – and just in time.

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    Given Fabian's wide-ranging skillset, he has been mentioned as a potential long-term replacement for more than one Barca midfielder.

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