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Marcador del partit

  • Date: Wednesday, 24 Jan
  • Competition: ???label.competicio0???
  • Stadium: Benito Villamarín, Sevilla


  • Real Betis: 1
  • FC Barcelona: 1

Match report

Match Report

The goals

1-0, Robert (36')
1-1, Márquez (61')

Márquez stretches Barça's lead (1-1)

Barça have moved a point clear at the top of the table after drawing at Betis in Wednesday night's rescheduled match. Robert put the home side ahead, but Rafa Marquez was at hand to level affairs by nodding home a Deco corner.

Whether it was a point gained or two points lost is a matter of opinion, but the fact is that Barça have reached the half-way point of the season with a one-point advantage on their nearest rivals, Sevilla and Real Madrid, in their chase for a third consecutive league title. The game, rescheduled due to Barça's trip to Japan to play in the Clubs World Cup, set off at a furious pace, but despite both sides' good intents, the first half failed to produce much in the way of goalmouth action, and the Betis goal put away by Robert was the only major talking point. Barça bounced back in the second half, and after missing two chances, finally drew level thanks to a Marquez header from a corner. Rijkaard's side enjoyed most of the possession from then on, but were unable to get the second goal that would have secured three very useful points.

Unexpected goal

Only two long range efforts from Sobis and Assunçao caused any kind of concern to the goalkeepers in the first ten minutes, but despite Barcelona playing the ball around very nicely, and Ronaldinho highly active in getting the ball into dangerous positions, very little was to come of it. Betis were being closed into their own half, but managed to hold things together tightly to prevent their guests from causing too many worries for their ever-noisy fans.

Barcelona had almost all the possession, but unforced and forced errors meant that it was not until the 34th minute that a Saviola effort after an impressive solo run produced Barça's first genuine goalscoring opportunity. And just when Barça looked to have finally worked the game out, Betis went ahead in the most unexpected fashion. From what did not seem the most worrying of corners, Nano was able to loop the ball to Robert to head home unchallenged. And from there until the break, it was more of the same, two teams giving it their all, but very little coming out of it in the form of goalmouth excitement.

Barcelona improve

Assunçao was always going to be dangerous from free kicks but few expected him to produce such a thunderbolt from such a long range shortly after the interval, and Valdés was fortunate to watch it whisk wide. Seconds later and Marquez was booked for a tackle on the goalscorer, Robert, and will miss Sunday's match against Celta. Barça came close to equalising in the 52nd minute when Motta was just too late to get on the end of a Deco free kick, and with things looking better by the minute for the visitors, a Giuly strike on 55 minutes was turned onto the post by the Betis defence. Such pressure eventually paid off, as Barça equalised in similar fashion to the earlier Betis goal. Again from a corner, taken by Deco, Márquez was able to connect head and ball and Doblas' valiant efforts to prevent it from crossing the line were ultimately in vain. 61 minutes gone and it was one each, and Gudjohnsen came on in place of Saviola. Xavi substituted Giuly shortly after, which drew Iniesta out to the right to cover for the Frenchman.

Chances for either side

Having levelled affairs, Barça looked vastly more comfortable on the ball, and piled on the pressure in search of a winner. But sometimes there is just no logic to football, and it was Betis that enjoyed the best chances as the game approached its end. The most clear-cut was a 77th minute Fernando shot that went high, to which Barça immediately responded with a run down the right from Oleguer to create a chance that Gudjohnsen was unable to convert.

The final minutes, and yet more Barça pressure, but the final balls just weren't finding their targets, and when they did, the chances went begging. And just when it all looked over, Dani very nearly soured the evening for Barça, but his last second strike just went wide of the post. It all ended 1-1, and a useful point nonetheless, although there will be plenty of Barcelona fans tonight wishing that it could have been three.



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