Alba strikes late as Barca secure top-four spot with Betis win


MADRID: Barcelona secured qualification for subsequent season’s Champions League on Saturday (May 7) as Jordi Alba’s 94th-minute winner in opposition to Real Betis assured the Catalans’ place within the La Liga high 4.

Alba’s stinging injury-time volley snatched a 2-1 victory for Barca on the Benito Villamarin to make sure they are going to play within the Champions League subsequent time period, an achievement that’s more likely to be essential to the membership’s hopes of economic restoration.

When Xavi Hernandez took over as coach in November, Barcelona lay ninth in La Liga, with real issues about their possibilities of closing the hole on the highest 4.

But, regardless of a latest dip in kind, vital enhancements have seen Xavi’s crew surge up the desk they usually can now stay up for rejoining the likes of Real Madrid in Europe’s premier event subsequent season.

The distinction between Champions League and Europa League soccer might be value greater than 50 million euros (US$52.7 million) to Barcelona, who started the season with money owed of greater than a billion euros, and after being pressured to let Lionel Messi go away at no cost final summer season.

Missing out on the monetary rewards of the Champions League would have been unthinkable and whereas a trophyless season can by no means rely as a hit for Barca, ending within the high 4 is a powerful achievement for Xavi and an enormous reduction for the membership.

Victory leaves Barcelona second within the desk, 11 factors away from Betis in fifth, with each groups having three video games left to play. Barca ought to now be assured of clinching second place too, with 5 factors the hole between them and Sevilla, who play at Villarreal on Sunday.


Betis seemed like they’d sealed some extent after Marc Bartra headed in an equaliser within the 78th minute, three minutes after Ansu Fati had come off the bench to present Barcelona the lead. Alba, although, fired in on the again put up to say all three factors for the guests.

Fati’s purpose was his first within the league since November as the 19-year-old continues his newest restoration from one other prolonged spell on the sidelines.

The teenager briefly returned in January from a hamstring harm that has saved him out for the perfect a part of six months, on the again of his nightmare 11 months out with a knee drawback between November 2020 and September final yr.

Real Betis needed to change their goalkeeper after 17 minutes as the injured Claudio Bravo was changed by Rui Silva, who was referred to as into motion quickly after, tipping Ronald Araujo’s header onto the crossbar.

Barca additionally had the woodwork to thank for retaining the rating degree at half-time as Guido Rodriguez’s strike from the sting of the world cannoned off the underside of the put up.

Betis completed the primary half the stronger however the sport opened up within the second, with Barcelona wanting extra harmful.

It was Fati, on off the bench, who made the breakthrough.

First, Fati tried to wriggle by a cluster of Betis defenders in entrance of him and when that failed, he tried a extra direct route, the ball coming again to him from Alba and the end discovering a manner by the our bodies and dribbling into the nook.

Barcelona’s benefit, although, lasted three minutes as a easy, crossed free-kick from Nabil Fekir was met by the shoulder of Bartra, who bundled in a swift equaliser in opposition to his former membership.

Betis’ German Pezzella may have added one other however headed vast.

Fati scuffed an opportunity on the different finish earlier than Alba struck within the 94th minute, drifting in on the again put up and sizing up Danu Alves’ floated ball in. He caught it sweetly, the ball flying into the highest of the web.

Alba strikes late as Barca secure top-four spot with Betis win

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