Soccer-Barcelona secure gritty win at Betis to extend lead

Soccer Football - LaLiga - Real Betis v FC Barcelona - Estadio Benito Villamarin, Seville, Spain - February 1, 2023 FC Barcelona's Robert Lewandowski celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

(Reuters) -Barcelona extended their LaLiga lead to eight points after Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski scored to earn a hard-fought 2-1 win at Real Betis on Wednesday.

Unbeaten in their last 14 matches in all competitions, Barcelona are on a four-game winning streak in LaLiga and piling pressure on arch-rivals Real Madrid who are bidding to retain the title.

Barca top the standings on 50 points, eight ahead of second-placed Real, who have a game in hand and host struggling Valencia on Thursday. Betis are sixth on 31 points.

"We played a great match," Barca manager Xavi Hernandez told Movistar Plus.

"We have taken the ball away from Betis, which was one of the keys to the match. I'm happy with the result and with the way we played. We have improved.

"We are leaders. We are solid on defense. We are working well. The work pays off. We played one of the best games of the season. I am very satisfied."

Barcelona controlled the game on a chilly night in Sevilla, but were foiled by goalkeeper Rui Silva who made three good saves to deny Pedri.

Betis had their chances on the counter-attack and almost scored through Borja Iglesias and Sergio Canales whose effort was blocked by Jules Kounde.

It took 65 minutes for Barca to break the deadlock with Raphinha tapping home from close range, a goal that started thanks to a moment of opportunism from Frankie de Jong.

The Dutchman ran to quickly take a free kick while the Betis players were arguing with the referee. He passed to Alejandro Balde who set up Raphinha for a simple finish.

LaLiga top scorer Lewandowski, returning after a three-game suspension, stroked in from a corner 15 minutes later.

Barcelona defender Kounde scored an own goal in the 85th minute as he tried to clear Youssouf Sabaly's cross with his chest, but the visitors held on to claim the three points.

Betis had William Carvalho sent off after the final whistle for complaining to the referee.

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas, Editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond)

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In Football

Soccer-Ertz makes surprise return to U.S. squad for World Cup warm-up
Malaysia down Hong Kong 2-0 in friendly
Soccer-Lineker wins appeal over 4.9 million pounds tax bill
Soccer-Spain hotel worker arrested for alleged hate crime against Morocco players
Soccer-Spurs defender Emerson to undergo knee surgery
Soccer-Shocked Koeman says Dutch need drastic improvement after horror week
S.Africa's grannies kick out stereotypes on the soccer field
Soccer-Messi statue to stand next to Maradona, Pele at CONMEBOL museum
Soccer-Injured Norway defender Thorisdottir to miss Women's World Cup
Soccer-Peru team involved in fracas with Spanish police

Others Also Read