Barca and Sevilla claim wins

Lionel Messi stepped off the bench to help Barcelona prevail in a six-goal thriller, while Sevilla remain in the hunt for European qualification.

Last Updated: 05/05/13 at 22:04 Post Comment

Lionel Messi: Stepped off the bench to net twice for Barcelona

Lionel Messi: Stepped off the bench to net twice for Barcelona

Barcelona bounced back from their disappointing UEFA Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich with a 4-2 victory over Real Betis which has them sat 11 points clear at the top of the table and in need of just one more positive result to wrap up the Primera Liga title.

It appeared at one stage as if it would be another night to forget for the Catalan giants at Camp Nou, with Dorlan Pabon firing Betis in front less than two minutes in.

Barca offered a rapid response to falling behind, with Alexis Sanchez restoring parity with a close-range header.

Betis, though, were back in front two minutes before half-time when Ruben Perez crashed home from the edge of the box.

David Villa hauled the hosts level again on 56 minutes, and that was to be his last involvement as he made way for Messi. The mercurial Argentine required just three minutes to make his mark, curling home a sumptuous free-kick before going on to roll a second of the night into an empty net on 71 minutes to wrap up the points for Barca.

Sevilla kept their dreams of Europa League football alive for next season with a convincing 3-0 win over Espanyol, who tried their luck with a couple of wayward chances early on before Joan Capdevila handed the initiative to the home side with an 11th minute own-goal.

Sevilla midfielder Jesus Navas fired in a cross and Capdevila tried to make a block, but he ended up heading the ball into his own net from 12 yards out.

Andujar Coke then doubled the home side's lead after he linked up with Navas on the right, before Alvaro Negredo made the result safe in the 22nd minute when he slotted home Ivan Rakitic's assist.

Mallorca remain bottom of the table after only managing to draw 1-1 with Levante at home.

Real Zaragoza recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time this season as Rayo Vallecano succumbed meekly to a 3-0 setback at La Romareda.

The hosts' early pressure told after 25 minutes when Abraham's shot was harshly adjudged to have struck the hand of Jordi in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Apono took the responsibility from 12 yards and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.

Zaragoza needed only six minutes of the second period to extend their lead, Rodri snaffling up the rebound from close range after Helder Postiga had seen his header parried by Ruben.

Postiga was denied a goal when his header struck the post in the first minute of added time, but a third did arrive with seconds remaining when Apono fired in from 20 yards.

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W

e have the personnel. The trick is keeping them fit. Carrick and Blind have missed large chunks of the season, while the defence has been one muddled mess of intermittent stooges, all coming and going at various intervals thus far. We may be just short of title winning quality, but we're half way through. An injury crisis to either of the top two could change things. Optimistic, yes, but not unrealistic.

HarryBoulton
One Point And One Conclusion For United

P

arish is the man to blame for this shambles. Pulis must be chuckling into his left over turkey sandwich. I pray this doesn't mean the Neil Warnock media machine will kick in now and he'll be back on the telly box.

magicfuller
Warnock sacked by Palace

W

e almost found a new way to lose, just when I thought it was getting boring Giroud does that. Although Arsenal are deservedly called 'soft' the entire midfield is out injured. Still must admit MU are managing to win despite a similar raft of absentees. Think the Gunners have good players but poorly coached.

gettalong
Wenger: Giroud deserved red

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