Sunday, January 29, 2023

Barca beat Betis on penalties; reach Super Cup final

FC Barcelona will play arch-rivals Real Madrid in the final of the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday after beating Real Betis on penalties.
The two sides ended 2-2 after 120 minutes before Marc-Andre ter Stegen saved from William Carvalho and Juanmi in the shootout to see Barca through, but just as Valencia made Real Madrid suffer on Wednesday night, Betis pushed Barca to the limit.
Barca began in control on Thursday with Betis struggling to get a touch of the ball, and it was no surprise when Pedri had the ball in the net in the 23rd minute after an excellent curling ball from Raphinha.
Pedri timed his run perfectly between the defenders, but VAR intervened and it was ruled out for a tight offside from Raphinha before his cross.
The goal woke Betis up and they began to create better chances, with Sergio Canales’ shot from outside the area deflected out for a corner. German Pezzella got a powerful header on the corner but was denied by a low reflex save from Ter Stegen.
Sergi Roberto was Barca’s next saviour, just clearing ahead of Rodri as Luiz Henrique’s low cross deflected across the goal.
Robert Lewandowski put Barca ahead in the 40th minute after Pedri had set Ousmane Dembele clear down the left. Dembele rode one challenge and squared to Lewandowski, and although his first shot was blocked, the ball fell for him to score from a narrow-angle.
Ter Stegen was in action again before the break, saving from Rodri and then getting down to frustrate Henrique, whose low effort looked bound for the bottom corner.
After the break, Betis took control of midfield, despite Sergio Busquets coming on to make his 700th appearance. Barca looked content to try and run the clock down and paid the price when the impressive Henrique prodded the ball to Nabil Fekir to score the equalizer with his left foot.
Lewandowski had a goal ruled out for offside in the 80th minute and the game went into extra time.
Just as Real Madrid triumphed on Wednesday, Barca kept their nerve in the shootout and Sunday will see a ‘Clasico’ in Riyadh.

SourceIANS
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