Lionel Messi came off the bench in the second half to score the equaliser before playing a key role in the second goal as well with Barcelona bouncing back from a goal down for a 3-2 win over Real Betis in a La Liga match on Sunday. The victory was Barcelona’s sixth straight in the league as they maintained their second spot in the standings behind leaders Atletico Madrid. Also Read - ATL vs RM Dream11 Team Prediction LaLiga Santander: Captain, Vice-captain, Fantasy Playing Tips, Predicted XIs For Today's Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid Football Match at Wanda Metropolitano 8:45 PM IST March 7 Sunday
Betis went ahead in the 38th minute with Borja Iglesias finding the opener after a counterattack with Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman leaving several first-choice players on the bench. The Catalan giants finished the first half trailing by a goal with their manager introducing Messi after the break with the Argentine immediately making an impact two minutes later to equalise. Also Read - Lionel Messi And Other Barca Players Cast Vote for Barcelona Presidential Election at Camp Nou
The visitors then went ahead in the 68th minute with Messi finding Jordi Alaba with a superb pass with Betis defender Victor Ruiz sending the goal inside his own half. But Ruiz soon made redemption for his mistake by heading in the equaliser after a Nabil Fekir freekick in the 75th minute. Also Read - Lionel Messi Provides Brace of Assists as Barcelona Beat Osasuna 2-0 in La Liga
However, Portuguese Trincao found the winner three minutes before the full time, scoring his first goal for Barcelona in 17th appearance.
“I discussed resting Leo with him yesterday and we agreed we would bring him on if we needed him. He came on and changed the game, he brought life to our play,” Koeman said after the match. “Barca are a much better side with Messi, he is so effective and he has spent so many years proving he is a vital player to this team.”
When asked why he decided to push Messi, Frenkie de Jong among others to the bench, Koeman cited exhaustion and impending Copa del Rey semifinals next week as the reason. “Above all, I made the rotations because the players are exhausted,” Koeman said. “We’ve played 11 games this year, 10 of which have been away from home and late at night. We are into the Copa del Rey semi-finals and Sevilla are a good side so we have to protect players to ensure we don’t get more injuries.”