Competition Focus

Real Betis 2-4 Barcelona: Ferran Torres hat-trick gives Xavi’s side thrilling win in La Liga

Ferran Torres fired a glorious hat-trick as Barcelona remained eight points behind La Liga leaders Girona with a thrilling 4-2 win at Real Betis.

Xavi’s men looked in complete control at the Benito Villamarin in Seville as Torres struck on 21 and 48 minutes to give Barca a commanding 2-0 lead.

Manuel Pellegrini’s home side had been passive until that point, but turned the match on its head when Isco struck with two sublime finishes on 56 and 59 minutes to level at 2-2.

With the game raging from end to end, the winner could have arrived for either side, but it was Barca who applied the finish to a clinical attacking move when substitute Joao Felix netted with the outside of his boot with Torres playing provider in the final minute.

And it was Torres who completed the scoring when he bounded onto a pass from the excellent Lamine Yamal deep in added time to finalise a vital three points for the visitors with a superb chipped finish.

Barca are third in the standings with 44 points from 20 matches, seven behind Los Blancos, who completed a 3-2 win over Almeria earlier in the day to move two points clear of Girona, who regained top spot later on Sunday with a 5-1 drubbing of Sevilla.

Barca and Madrid have played one less game than Girona.

Talking point – Barca show real mettle to dig out win

Xavi celebrated with real joy when Torres scored the match-clinching fourth goal for Barcelona. And little wonder.

It was a pulsating evening, but the visiting side should feel good about themselves for digging out the three points after Isco had dragged the home side level with two goals inside three minutes around the hour-mark.

Lesser teams would have collapsed, but Barca found character and quality to finish off the match under considerable pressure.

Player of the Match – Ferran Torres (Barcelona)

Scored a hat-trick and was also involved in playing provider for substitute João Félix to score Barca’s vital third in the final minutes to complete a memorable evening in Seville.

Special mentions should also go to his teenage team-mate Lamine Yamal and the reborn Betis playmaker Isco, who both enjoyed excellent performances.

Player Ratings

Real Betis: Silva 6, Bellerin 6, Pezzella 6, Sokratis, Abner 6, Johnny 6, Isco 9, Roca 6, Luiz Henrique 7, Willian Jose, Diao 7 Substitutes: Sergi Altimira 6, Borja Iglesias 6, Nabil Fekir 6

Barcelona: Pena 6, Koundé 7, Araujo 7, Cubarsi 8, Baldé, De Jong 6, Gundogan 7, Pedri 7, Yamal 9, Lewandowski 6, Torres 9 Substitutes: João Félix 8, Fermín López 7, Vitor Roque 7

Match Highlights

21′ GOAL FOR BARCELONA! (TORRES) Cross from the right from Pedri. Lovely ball across the face of goal and Ferran Torres taps it home. Will VAR rule that onside? Travelling fans in party mood high up in the stands. And it does stand. A 1-0 lead for the visitors. Fine goal and finish.

48′ GOAL FOR BARCELONA! (TORRES) And that will double his lot for the night. He thumps the ball into the net after the ball broke to him kindly off the bar via the cross of Lamine Yamal. Fine play by Yamal. It is 2-0.

56′ BETIS HIT BACK (ISCO) Pena fails to deal well with the cross. Palms it back into the traffic and Isco smashes an unstoppable volley high into the net. What a finish! Betis back in the ball game.

60′ GOAL FOR REAL BETIS! (ISCO) Would you believe this. Two goals inside four minutes from Isco, and Betis are level at 2-2. That is a brilliant goal as he chipped it over Pena. VAR confirms he is well onside from the Luiz Henrique pass. Well now. What have Barca got here? 2-2.

89′ GOAL FOR BARCELONA! (JOAO FELIX) João Félix with a brilliant finish from the Ferran Torres pass at the edge of the box. A little one-two between Joao and Ferran, Outside of the right boot. Fabulous goal. Is it the winner?

90+3′ GOAL FOR BARCELONA (TORRES) And there is the hat-trick from Torres. What a pass from Yamal to send his team-mate racing clear. Delightful chip over Silva, and that is surely game, set and match to Barca, who lead 4-2.

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