Barcelona: Pinto; Dani Alves, Piqué,
Adriano, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Alex Song (Busquets 86'), Iniesta; Alexis (Thiago
78'), David Villa (Messi 57'), Tello. 4-3-3.
Betis: Adrián; Chica, Mario, Amaya, Alex Martínez; Rubén Pérez, Salva Sevilla (Vadillo 59'), Nosa Igiebor (Joel Campbell 68'): Pabón, Jorge Molina (Beñat 46'), Rubén Castro. 4-3-3.
0-1. 02. Pabón. Ran on to beat Pinto after keeper's long clearance headed back.
1-1. 08. Alexis. Stooped to head ball past Adrián after Iniesta crossed from left.
1-2. 43. Rubén Pérez. Picked up Nosa pass outside area and fired shot past Pinto.
2-2. 56. Villa. Steered far post header past keeper from long Dani Alves cross.
3-2. 59. Messi. Curled free kick over defensive wall in to near top corner of net.
4-2. 70. Messi. Ran ball in on far post after Alexis played back Iniesta's pass.
Yellow cards: Adriano 44', Rubén Pérez 53'.
Barcelona are just two points away from the league title after a 4-2 victory over Betis on Sunday night, and they could even be proclaimed champions on Wednesday night if Real Madrid don't beat Málaga. The Catalans had to come from behind twice to do so though, Pabón giving the visitors a second minute lead after Pinto's long clearance was headed back in to his path. Iniesta set up Alexis to head the equaliser just six minutes later, and after that Villa missed two or three chances, and Tello fired in a shot which bounced down off the crossbar on to the line. But Pinto also had to keep out Salva Sevilla, and with a couple of minutes to go to the break Rubén Pérez picked up Nosa's short pass and fired an impressive shot in to the top corner of the net.
Vilanova decided he had no option but to turn to Messi, still not fully fit after his hamstring injury, but before Villa left to make room, he made up for his misses with a header from a Dani Alves cross to level the scores once again. Messi got going straight away though, putting his side in front with a delightful free kick which Adrián could only watch in to the net, and a few minutes later he fired an almost identical free kick against the bar. The magic was back, and a clever back-heel pass by Iniesta allowed Alexis to set up Messi for the fourth. And with the game coming to a close only a good save by the visiting keeper prevented the little man from completing another hat-trick. It was just a pity that he didn't recover quickly enough to play in that second leg against Bayern.