Barcelona crush Betis to go top

Barcelona crush Betis to go top

Barcelona surged ahead, thanks to a goal by Portugal’s forward Felix, followed by additional strikes from Robert Lewandowski, Ferran Torres, and Raphinha that sent the visiting team into despair.

Joao Cancelo then completed the rout with an exquisite individual effort.

Barcelona’s resounding victory temporarily positions them at the summit of the league table, one point ahead of their rivals, Real Madrid, who are set to host Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Barcelona displayed a newfound energy that had been sporadically absent last season, even as they clinched La Liga. This dynamic performance served as their warm-up for the forthcoming Champions League opener against Royal Antwerp on Tuesday.

Felix played a pivotal role in this resurgence, putting on an impressive display after receiving their first starts for the club from Xavi, alongside fellow countryman Joao Cancelo, who had joined the team on deadline day loans. Both players quickly won over the home fans with their performances.

Real Betis, fielding a back four consisting entirely of former Barcelona players, adopted an attacking approach, setting them apart from many other teams visiting the temporary Olympic Stadium, home to the Spanish champions.

Their positive intent was evident as Luiz Henrique unleashed a powerful shot across the goal, and Ayoze Perez narrowly missed the target by striking the side netting in the early stages, displaying Manuel Pellegrini’s side’s strong start.

However, Barcelona’s summer signings came together to take the lead after 25 minutes. Cancelo initiated the move with a robust tackle, and Oriol Romeo delivered a precise cross into the box for Felix. The on-loan Atletico forward controlled the ball, maneuvered past goalkeeper Rui Silva, and clinically slotted home from a tight angle.

Lewandowski extended Barcelona’s lead by capitalizing on Andreas Christensen’s pass and calmly finding the back of the net. Felix’s clever dummy created the opportunity for the Polish striker.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a stunning save to deny Willian Jose after Isco cleverly set up the Brazilian forward near the penalty spot.

Silva thwarted Felix just before halftime at the end of a swift counter-attack, as Barcelona sought to firmly secure the game.

Torres, chosen over the young sensation Lamine Yamal, scored the third goal with a well-placed free kick around the defensive wall, marking Barcelona’s first such goal since Lionel Messi’s strike in May 2021.

Raphinha, who entered the match in place of Torres, promptly added the fourth with a powerful strike from outside the penalty area that nestled into the bottom corner.

On-loan Manchester City defender Cancelo enthusiastically contributed the fifth goal, capping off an outstanding individual performance. He left former Barcelona left-back Juan Miranda in his wake, driving the ball beyond the despairing Silva.

Whether this revamped Barcelona squad can compete with Europe’s elite remains uncertain, but their dominant performance underscored the improved attacking prowess they possess this season.