Lionel Messi came off the bench and bagged two goals as FC Barcelona thrashed Real Betis 5-2 in LaLiga action on Saturday evening.
Result: FC Barcelona 5-2 Real Betis
Date: 07 November 2020
Venue: Camp Nou
Scroll through the gallery above to see action from Barcelona's big win over Betis.
Barca manager Ronald Koeman made a bold decision of dropping Messi to the bench among the three changes from midweek, with Ousmane Dembele taking his place alongside recalls for Sergi Roberto and Clement Lenglet.
The hosts were creating plenty of chances in the opening exchanges, with Antoine Griezmann coming the closest on two occasions but Dembele eventually broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute with a swerving strike towards the far corner.
The Catalan giants had a wonderful chance to double their lead in the 33rd minute with a penalty awarded in their favour after Aissa Mandi brought down Anssumane Fati inside the box but Griezmann could not capitalise, as his spot-kick was saved by former Barca shot-stopper Claudio Bravo.
However, Real Betis caught Barca flat-footed at the back in first-half stoppage time as Antonio Sanabria levelled matters with a strike into the far corner after a cut-back by former Barcelona player Cristian Tello.
Koeman finally brought on Messi straight after the beak, with Fati making way and the Argentine played a role in Blaugrana restoring their lead four minutes later with a dummy inside the box from Jordi Alba's cut-back that allowed Griezmann to score into an open net.
The hosts had ther tails up after that and they were awarded a second penalty after Mandi blocked Dembele's shot with his arm off the line. Messi stepped up and hammered his strike into the top corner, leaving Bravo helpless to extend the lead.
Loren Moron gave Manuel Pellegrini's troops a lifeline in the 73rd minute after pulling another goal back with a blasting a strike from six-yards after a cut-back from Alex Moreno.
Betis' hopes of a comeback were dashed in the last eight minutes after Messi restored Barcelona's two-goal lead with a powerful strike into the roof of the net at the near post after an exquisite back-heel by Roberto sent the Argentine through on goal.
After Messi had anothet goal disallowed, Pedri rounded off the rout in the last minute with a tap-in at the back post after a teasing cross by Roberto, as Koeman's charges get back on track in LaLiga.