Barça ease past Betis to claim 2-0 win
Sergi Roberto and an own goal from Tosca saw Barça home with the woodwork denying Messi the chance to make the win more emphatic
FC Barcelona opened their La Liga campaign with a routine 2-0 win against Real Betis, with both goals scored before the break. The first came when defender Alin Tosca diverted the ball past Adrián Adán on 36 minutes, and the second followed minutes later when Sergi Roberto prodded home from inside the area.
Leo Messi was the standout player for the hosts, but was denied the chance to get on the scoresheet courtesy of the woodwork on more than one occasion. Ernesto Valverde will have been pleased by Gerard Deulofeu’s decisive input on both goals.
Before the the kick-off, a minute’s silence was observed solemnly for all the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambril.
First half control
Barça spent the opening exchanges feeling out a well-drilled Betis side who were quick to deny Messi space in the final third. The home fans had a moment of concern when Sergio Busquets went down under a challenge from Joaquín but he was fit to continue.
The closest Barcelona came to scoring in the opening exchanges was when Messi flighted a free-kick from the left which landed inches above the target, clipping the roof of the net. He again came agonisingly close on 25 minutes after being played in by Busquets.
At the other end, they had a scare when a clever piece of play by Joaquín found Sergio León free in the box. Javier Mascherano recovered brilliantly to snuff out the danger in the visitors’ first real foray forward.
The breakthrough finally came nine minutes from the interval. Deulofeu received the ball on the right and looked to feed the onrushing Messi in the middle but in trying to deny him, Tosca directed it into his own net.
Three minutes later it was 2-0, but it could have been very different. Mascherano made a sensational tackle to prevent León shooting once more. Mere seconds later on the break, Deulofeu won the ball back out wide and found Sergi Roberto with ample time to pick his spot.
Barça opened the second in complete control of the ball and should have extended their lead on the hour mark having won the ball back centrally. Busquets played Messi through once again this time but his curled effort struck the post.
Having shaved the crossbar ten minutes beforehand with a free-kick, Messi again was denied by the woodwork nine minutes from the end. This time he hit a rasping strike from outside the area, but again the end result was frustration.
In final minute of stoppage time the Argentine produced a slaloming run through the centre, only to be crowded out before he could land the killer blow.