Lionel Messi came off the bench at half-time to score twice as Barcelona beat 10-man Real Betis 5-2 at the Nou Camp.
Ousmane Dembele had given the home side the lead after 22 minutes, before Antoine Griezmann’s penalty was saved and Antonio Sanabria equalised in first-half stoppage time.
Messi, though, made an instant impact as his clever stepover set up Griezmann five minutes after the restart and he then converted a penalty after Aissa Mandi was shown a red card for handball on the line following VAR review.
— LaLiga English (@LaLigaEN) November 7, 2020
Loren Moron set up a tense final 15 minutes, but Messi settled matters with another late third goal and Pedri added a fifth as Ronald Koeman’s side closed out a much-needed LaLiga victory.
Barcelona went in front after 22 minutes when Dembele collected a ball from Griezmann on the right before cutting back inside to fire a left-footed shot past Claudio Bravo and into the top corner.
After Griezmann hit a post, Barcelona were awarded a penalty in the 32nd minute when Fati was bundled over – only for the World Cup-winning French striker to see his spot-kick saved.
— Real Betis Balompié (@RealBetis_en) November 7, 2020
Real Betis equalised in first-half stoppage time when Sanabria slotted the ball in after Cristian Tello’s cross from the left was not cleared.
Messi replaced teenager Fati for the second half – and made an instant impact to set up Griezmann in the 49th minute.
Jordi Alba sent a cross in from the left, which Messi jumped over to let the ball run to an unmarked Griezmann, who tapped into the net.
Genius from Messi! 🙌
Just on the pitch, the captain's brilliant dummy sets Griezmann up for a tap-in 🔥 pic.twitter.com/QyRWjYXd26
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) November 7, 2020
As the hour mark passed, Betis found themselves down to 10 men following a VAR review of handball.
Messi took the ball around the goalkeeper and cut a pass back for Dembele, whose shot was blocked on the line by Mandi.
The incident was reviewed by VAR, with the referee deciding to take a look on the pitchside monitor, before deciding it was handball and showing Mandi a red card.
Messi made no mistake from the penalty spot, drilling the ball into the top corner, to give Barcelona some breathing space.
Betis set up a tense final 15 minutes when Loren slotted home from 10 yards, but Messi wrapped things up in the 82nd minute after a one-two with Sergi Roberto.
The Argentinian playmaker was denied his hat-trick by an offside flag before midfielder Pedri added a fifth in stoppage time – the teenager’s first goal in LaLiga.