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First Division - Day 15

Betis 1 - Barcelona 2

Betis: Adrián; Chica, Amaya, Dorado, Nacho; Beñat, Cañas; Joel Campbell (Jorge Molina 46'), Salva Sevilla (Pozuelo 73'), Juan Carlos (Vadillo 29'); Rubén Castro. 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Adriano, Piqué, Puyol (Mascherano 46'), Jordi Alba; Xavi, Busquets, Fàbregas (Alexis 10'); Pedro (Thiago 80'), Messi, Iniesta. 4-3-3.

0-1. 15. Messi. Picked up ball in midfield and ran on to score with angled shot.
0-2. 25. Messi. Connected with Iniesta return pass and struck shot across Adrián.
1-2. 39. Rubén Castro. Ran on to Vadillo pass and angled shot wide of Valdés.

Yellow cards: Campbell 37', Jordi Alba 61', Vadillo 62', Pedro 75', Nacho 89'.

Leo Messi shrugged off his knee injury to help Barcelona to a 1-2 victory against Betis on Saturday evening. After being stretchered off in the midweek Champions League game, it looked as if he would be out for some time, but in the end the injury was not as serious as first though, and Tito Vilanova was able to include him in the starting line-up. The Argentinian superstar only needed two goals to beat Gerd Müller's all-time record of 85 goals in a calendar year, and with less than half an hour on the clock he had already done it, picking up Iniesta's short pass to run across three defenders and fire an angled shot back past Adrian for the first, and beating the keeper for the second time after latching on to Iniesta's back-heel pass. Iniesta came close to scoring himself in between with a lob which Adrián just managed to push over the top, and Xavi brought another good save out of the keeper a few minutes later. After beating Real Madrid though in their last home match, Betis were not going to give up easily, and shortly before half time they got back in it when Rubén Castro ran on to Vadillo's through ball to beat Valdés. And after the restart the Andalusians hit the woodwork no less than three times, a cross from Salva Sevilla which Valdés dropped at the feet of Castro, a back header from Mascherano following a corner which came back off the post to the keeper, and a volley from Pozuela against the upright. Barça had their chances as well however to increase the lead, Pedro shooting at Adrián when free on goal, and the keeper turning a shot from Messi against the post, Jordi Alba firing the rebound against the bar from two metres out. Another three points for Vilanova's steamroller in the end though, and despite their best efforts Betis drop out of the Champions League spots to fifth.