Barcelona moved within one point of league leaders Atletico Madrid when they claimed a 3-1 victory over Real Betis at the Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi scored a goal in each half, while Jordi Figueras turned the ball into the back of his own net to see the Catalans record a crucial three points for their title aspirations.
Real Betis put themselves under the kosh with just 11 minutes played when Jordi Figueras was found guilty for bringing down one of his opponents inside the box. Following a quick talk with his assistant, the referee blew for a penalty.
Lionel Messi stood up from 11 meters and waited for Antonio Adan to make a move before sliding his spot-kick home with a low effort down the middle.
Andres Iniesta and Pedro attempted to split the opposition's defence with a series of short passes, but one of Betis’ defenders stepped in to end the move on the half hour.
Messi attempted to add his second goal of the evening when he received a good pass in a promising area. However, his effort from the edge of the box went just wide of the left post as they walked into the break with a 1-0 advantage.
Barcelona had started to attack in ascendency towards the end of the half and few could have predicted what was to unfold once the interval came to an end.
The hosts went 2-0 up in the 67th minute and fortunate circumstances. Jordi Figueras tried to intercept a ball but accidently turned the ball into the back of his own net.
But two minutes later the visitors found themselves back in it when Ruben Castro pulled a ball past Pinto in between the sticks to halve the deficit.
Nonetheless, Tata Martino’s side put the result beyond a result eight minutes from time when Messi got his second goal of the game by slotting it past the ‘keeper.