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


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 – alone in the hunt for Champions League qualification – frustrated the leaders for more than an hour on Wednesday, with Manuel Pellegrini’s men defending resolutely and Pedri missing two good chances.

However, Raphinh was played in by the impressive Alejandro Balde before Lewandowski converted from a corner to put Xavi’s side in control.

Jules Kounde’s late own goal set up a nervy finish but Barca held on and put more pressure on Real Madrid ahead of Thursday’s clash with Valencia.

Luiz Henrique saw a shot deflect just wide of Betis when he nodded in an encouraging cross from Frenkie de Jong after 33 minutes, before Raphinh was denied by an offside flag.

Barcelona improved before the break but were denied by Rui Silva’s sharp save as he sent Pedri through on goal with a lucky deflection.

Pedri pulled off another reflex save from Silva within three minutes of the restart after being leveled by Baldeo’s restriction, before Barca finally broke through in the 65th minute.

Balde was again involved in a drive down the left after a quick free-kick and he tricked Raphinha into the shot 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 remaining, turning to find the bottom left corner from Ronaldo Araujo’s flick-on.

Betis set up a thrilling finish when Kounde bizarrely netted at the wrong end with five minutes remaining, but Barca held on for a fourth league win in a row.

Real Betis player ratings (4-2-3-1)

GK: Silva (6); RB: Ruibal (7), CB: Pezzella (6), CB: Felipe (6), LB: Abner (6); CM: Rodriguez (6), CM: Carvalho (5); RM: Henrique (7), AM: Fekir (6), LM: Canales (6); ST: Iglesias (6)

Subs: Guardado (6), Juanmi (6), Rodri (6), Jose (5), Sabaly (6)

Barcelona player ratings (4-3-3)

GK: Ter Stegen (6); RB: Kounde (6), CB: Araujo (7), CB: Chistensen (7), LB: Balde (8); CM: De Jong (7), CM: Busquets (8), CM: Pedri (7); RW: Raphinha (8), ST: Lewandowski (7), LW: Gavi (7)

Subs: Fati (5), Torres (N/A), Kessie (N/A)

Player of the match – Alejandro Balde (Barcelona)

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