Barcelona: Pinto; Dani Alves, Marc Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi (Alex Song 88’), Busquets, Iniesta (Fàbregas 79‘); Alexis, Messi, Pedro (Neymar 79’). 4-3-3.
Betis: Antonio Adán; Juanfran, Amaya, Jordi Figueras, Juan Carlos; Lolo Reyes, N’Diaye, Nono; Vadillo (Jorge Molina 60‘), Leo Baptistao (Braian Rodríguez 81’), Cedrick (Rubén Castro 60‘). 4-3-3.
1-0. 15. Messi (penalty). After Jordi Figueras tripped Alexis inside penalty area.
2-0. 66. Jordi Figueras (own goal). Turned Adriano pass in to net trying to clear.
2-1. 68. Rubén Castro. Picked up N’Diaye pass and fired angled shot past Pinto.
3-1. 86. Messi. Knocked in the rebound after Adán saved his penalty kick.
Yellow cards: Lolo Reyes 59’, Amaya 77’.
Barcelona won 3-1 against bottom club Betis on Saturday evening to remain a point behind leaders Atlético Madrid in the table. The crowd was boosted by a (positive) pre-match referendum on a major stadium remodeling, and they saw Xavi test Adán with a long shot before Alexis won a penalty off Juanfran which Messi converted. Messi and Pedro brought good saves out of the visiting keeper either side of half time, and Xavi brushed the crossbar with a free kick, but Pinto had to be at his best to push a deflected shot from N’Diaye over the bar a few minutes later. Midway through the second half the locals went further ahead when Jordi Figueras turned the ball in to his own goal trying to cut out a pass from Adriano, but just two minutes later Rubén Castro got one back, leaving two defenders and the keeper sprawled on the ground with a quick change of direction before clipping the ball in to the net. That left things wide open again, and it was not until four minutes from the end that referee Prieto Iglesias awarded Barça their fifth penalty in three matches after Neymar’s cross hit Amaya on the arm. This time Adán blocked Messi’s spot kick, but the rebound fell to back to the Argentinian forward who forced a second shot past the keeper.