Before Barcelona head into the second international break of the 2020-21 season, join us as we reminisce a sensational victory from Tito Vilanova’s side against Real Betis from the 2012-13 campaign.
Following the humiliating defeat suffered at the Camp Nou at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Barcelona had no choice but to win. They came into the match leading the race for the La Liga title, however following Real Madrid’s win earlier that day, they couldn’t mathematically guarantee the title. A win would, however, leave them needing just but a point to secure the league title in Madrid against Atlético.
Real Betis were coming into the tie on the back of a fantastic domestic campaign. They sat seventh in the standings, just four points shy of Malaga in the final Europa League spot. Boasting one of the best away records in the league, Los Verdiblancos had every right to feel confident in the prospect of a victory in a stadium that had haunted them for so long in their history.
The visitors gave their grieving hosts a run for their money but in the end, a Lionel Messi brace from the second period and goals in either half from Alexis Sánchez and David Villa sealed a memorable victory.
Dani Alves · Piqué · Adriano · Jordi Alba
Xavi · Alex Song · Iniesta
Sanchez · Villa · Tello
Chica · Mario · Amaya · Martinez
Penat · Igiebor · Perez
Castro · Molina · Pabon
Barcelona came into this match with Victor Valdes out through injury. His replacement José Manuel Pinto would grab the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Pinto, apart from that squandered goal kick, put on a sensational display. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
A poorly taken goal kick was quickly pounced upon by Jorge Molina, whose headed interception went from near the halfway line, and all the way to Marlon Pabon in the right flank. He swiftly controlled the ball and dragged it into the net in to hand his side the lead just a minute into the crunch encounter.
The Catalans needed a response, and it didn’t take them long to restore parity. From the left-wing, Andres Iniesta dragged a handful of defenders his way, consequently creating a pocket of space in the penalty box. The then whipped in a cross on his weaker foot which met Alexis Sánchez for an easy header, beating Adrián to draw them level.
From then on, it was almost all Barça, with Iniesta and Cristian Tello running the show. The veteran midfielder lacerated the visitors’ defence, finding Xavi Hernández with a through ball. He unselfishly set the ball up for David Villa, though he squandered the shot, blasting it wide off the mark.
Alexis got the team off the mark with a quick reply. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
On the other end, early substitute Salva Sevilla almost got Betis back in the lead, but his volleyed shot turned out to be way too central, and Pinto diligently took care of the situation.
Despite yet another big miss from close range from David Villa, a shot bouncing off the crossbar and perhaps past the line from Tello and a long shot from Iniesta, the hosts just couldn’t find a way to add to their tally.
Betis made them rue their wasted chances, and they did so with a goal worthy of the occasion. Just moments from the break, Rúben Pérez unleashed an absolute thunderbolt from roughly 25 yards, and such was the power and accuracy, that Pinto could do next to nothing to stop it going in.
While Betis might not have deserved the lead, merit didn’t matter much to them. They were going into half-time in the lead against the champions elect and given how rare such opportunities come by, that’s all they could care about.
Half Time: Barcelona 1-2 Real Betis
Without wasting much time, the hosts levelled the game once more. Xavi played a switch all the way to Dani Alves in the right flank. The Brazilian went past his marker, whipped a cross into the 18-yard box and David Villa, who up until that point was drawing blanks, finally bulged the back of the net via a header.
Lionel Messi came on for him and immediately turned the game on its head. The Blaugrana had earned a free-kick some 20 yards from Adrián’s goal. The Argentine’s curling strike went up, over the wall but dinked into the net at just the right moment, grazing the fingertips of the goalkeeper en route to goal. For 21 La Liga games in the row, with all the ups and downs, there was one constant: Lionel Messi hitting the back of the net.
Life, death, taxes, Lionel Messi in 2012/13: the only constants in life. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
The then three-time Ballon D’or winner had another set-piece opportunity, but despite having the keeper rooted to the spot, his fine strike bounced off the crossbar and was subsequently cleared.
For all the dominance Barcelona had imposed on their opponents, a fourth goal was always coming. True to the Barça way, the goal came via some sublime combination play, capped off by none other than Lionel Messi.
He started the move on the right flank with a pass to Iniesta just on the edge of the box. The Spaniard instinctively played a backheel pass into the penalty area having seen Sánchez move into the box. The Barça number nine stopped the keeper in his tracks and played a low cross into Messi who had the simple task of tapping the ball into the back of the net to make it 4-2.
Messi had a chance to seal his hat trick in the dying minutes of the game, but despite having gone past three players, his shot’s trajectory was just a tad bit too high, and the Betis shotstopper wasted no time palming it away.
Full Time: Barcelona 4-2 Real Betis .
Barcelona vs Osasuna: Match Preview
Barcelona return to their cramped position in La Liga after a comfortable outing in the Champions League. The Catalans turn hosts this time around as they try to get back to winning ways in the league against Osasuna.
Date and kick-off time: Sunday 29 November 2020, 14:00 CET
Stadium: Camp Nou
Competition: La Liga, Matchday 11
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Barcelona are in a precarious state in their campaign this term. The Catalans have more points, more wins and a better goal difference in the Champions League than they have in La Liga. Worst possible start to the season in decades, with injuries piling up amid a congested fixture list, Ronald Koeman and the players have a lot to figure out. But, first, they have to get back to winning ways in the league.
Osasuna visit the Camp Nou with memories of their last contest, confirming Real Madrid’s title last season with a 1-2 win. The visitors are on the same points as Barça, albeit playing an extra game. Their recent form has been a worry as they have only one win in their last five games much similar to the Blaugranas.
Barcelona’s memories against Osasuna are not pleasant. (Photo via Imago)
While Los Rojillos do not have the fixture congestion as the hosts, they have mirrored their injury problems and long time absences. Chimy Avila, Brandon, David García, Adrián López are injured and out of the clash. Jonathan Calleri, Aridane Hernández, Juan Pérez, Lucas Torró are doubtful for the game.
Barça’s injury list has dented the team significantly. While Ansu Fati, Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto remain sidelined for months, there has been some improvement for the others. Both Samuel Umtiti and Ronald Araujo have started the group training but will be a couple of weeks before they are match fit.
“Dest had some discomfort in his leg, but it is not a serious matter because he trained well today. If he is not well tomorrow, we will play someone else. We will not risk injuries.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-game Presser
Sergio Busquets is given the medical green light for this clash after recovering from a knock in International duty. Despite initial reports of an injury, Sergino Dest has made the squad list after having trained with the group before the game.
What to expect from Barcelona?
Ronald Koeman decided to field a second-string eleven against Dynamo Kyiv and rested his most-played players. Both Frenkie de Jong and Lionel Messi got a well-deserved rest after playing almost all games this season. So, both players will be fit and raring to go this weekend in La Liga. With the return of Coutinho, the front four seems to take shape in the absence of Ansu Fati.
“Hopefully tomorrow Messi and De Jong can offer their best because we need them.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-Game Presser
While there are options aplenty in the attack, the defence still seems shaky and not enough for top La Liga sides. Óscar Mingueza could continue to partner Clément Lenglet after impressing midweek. If Dest is not fit enough to start either Mingueza or de Jong will fit in at right-back. Carles Aleñá could get another run in the pivot with Miralem Pjanić if de Jong fills in at defence. Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba would be the only two regular starters in the backline.
Personnel issues aside, Barcelona have struggled tactically this season. While they breezed past Dynamo Kyiv in the previous game, they still provided the opponent with plenty of easy chances. The erratic pressing and loss of intensity after some point results in the opposition carving open the Barça defence with as little as a one-two pass. The manager should work on these and make sure the pressing works against tactically drilled La Liga sides.
What to expect from Osasuna?
Jagoba Arrasate’s Osasuna have been excellent in the top flight since getting promoted. After finishing an impressive 10th place last time, they are in the bottom half of the table this season, just below Barcelona. Injuries to crucial players have dented their fortunes this season, and their recent form is not helping the team.
When the last time the two sides met, the visitors won with only 20% possession, had more shots on target and scored a goal while a man down. Arrasate understandably would go with the same approach this time around as well. Whether the formation is 3-5-2 or 4-4-2, Osasuna will pack the middle to restrict the Blaugranas from breaking lines and going through the centre.
With a lack of possession and territory, Osasuna will look to go long moving the ball direct while counter-attacking. The visitors being aerially dominant, will often look to cross into the box. They do take a lot of shots confidently but are often prone to miss big chances. In this particular match, Osasuna’s game plan would work with ease if they hold their shape well in defence and successfully get into scoring positions.
Player to watch
Budimir has scored one of the only two goals Atletico Madrid have conceded this season. (Photo via Imago)
Osasuna have a lot of tall players ready to nod the crosses they put in. Ante Budimir is among the tallest of the lot, standing tall at 6’2″. The Croatian has played their last three games scoring one goal against Atletico Madrid past Jan Oblak. He is not afraid to take shots as he leads the team in shots per game.
One of the main reasons for his threat is the lack of height in the Barça defence. With Gerard Piqué out, the aerial presence at the back is severely low, and the Croat could take advantage of the situation.
Previous games: WLWWD
Dynamo Kyiv 0–4 Barcelona | UEFA Champions League
Atletico Madrid 1–0 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 5–2 Real Betis | La Liga
Barcelona 2–1 Dynamo Kyiv | UEFA Champions League
Deportivo Alavés 1–1 Barcelona | La Liga
Position in La Liga
11 points in 8 games
3 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses
15 Goals Scored, 9 Goals Conceded
+6 Goal Difference
Previous games: DLLWD
Osasuna 1–1 Huesca | La Liga
Sevilla 1–0 Osasuna | La Liga
Osasuna 1–3 Atlético Madrid | La Liga
Osasuna 1–0 Athletic Bilbao | La Liga
Eibar 0–0 Osasuna | La Liga
Position in La Liga
11 points in 9 games
3 wins, 2 draws, 4 losses
8 Goals Scored, 9 Goals Conceded
-1 Goal Difference
Barcelona 1–2 Osasuna | La Liga 19/20
Osasuna 2–2 Barcelona | La Liga 19/20
Barcelona 7–1 Osasuna| La Liga 16/17
Osasuna 0–3 Barcelona | La Liga 16/17
Barcelona 7–0 Osasuna| La Liga 13/14
- Barcelona are undefeated in 33 of their last 35 home matches (LaLiga).
- Osasuna have failed to score in their last 3 away matches (LaLiga).
- There have been under 2.5 goals scored in 8 of Osasuna’s last 10 away games (LaLiga).
- Osasuna were unbeaten against Barcelona last season.
Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Gerard Pique (knee), Ansu Fati (knee), Sergi Roberto (hamstring), Ronald Araujo
Marc-André ter Stegen
Dest · Mingueza · Lenglet · Alba
Pjanic · de Jong
Dembele · Messi · Coutinho
Coach: Ronald Koeman
“If we maintain our rhythm with the ball, we will be very good. Sometimes we suddenly relax. The team needs to keep a constant level of intensity.”Ronald Koeman | Pre-Game Presser
Injured: Chimy Avila, Brandon, David García, Adrián López, Jonathan Calleri, Aridane Hernández, Juan Pérez, Lucas Torró
Roncaglia · David García · Raúl Navas
Nacho Vidal · Moncayola · Sanjurjo · Inigo Pérez · Jony
Budimir · Garcia
Coach: Jagoba Arrasate
Barcelona have been wayward in La Liga this season. They have performed against teams which like possession, but have struggled hard against low and medium blocks. Barça despite, having the ball, have been highly inefficient, moving it slow unable to break down the opponents. It would continue against Osasuna unless Ronald Koeman decides to do things differently.
Barça Universal prediction: 2–1 win for the Catalans