Messi was amongst a number of key gamers rested, with Ronald Koeman seemingly prioritising Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final towards Sevilla forward of Barca’s fading title problem in La Liga.
Defeat would have known as that call into query however Messi drove in an equaliser lower than three minutes after approaching within the second half after which helped arrange Francisco Trincao to attain a late winner, the 21-year-old’s first objective for Barcelona.
“He modified the sport,” mentioned Koeman, when requested about Messi.
“It’s kind of in regards to the cup recreation however we additionally should resolve when the very best second is to relaxation gamers. The cup is the shortest path to a title this season.”
Koeman’s facet sit seven factors behind La Liga’s leaders Atletico Madrid, who’ve performed two video games fewer and face Celta Vigo at house on Monday night time.
Success additionally got here at a value as Barca’s greatest obtainable central defender Ronald Araujo was compelled off with an ankle damage early on.
With Gerard Pique already a long-term absentee, Araujo’s health can be an enormous concern, particularly with a Champions League final 16 first leg at house to Paris Saint-Germain to come back, per week after the take a look at towards Sevilla.
Betis will marvel how they managed to not take not less than some extent from a wild contest on the Benito Villamarin however Barcelona maintain their momentum, this their sixth league victory in a row.
They have been hit early by the damage to Araujo, whose ankle caved beneath the burden of an ungainly fall. Frenkie de Jong got here in at centre-back and his associate Clement Lenglet ought to have given Barca the lead however headed broad from 5 yards out with no person close to him.
Betis made them pay with a superb opening objective on the break. Ousmane Dembele misplaced the ball upfield and Betis poured ahead, the ball shifted proper to Emerson who motored spherical Jordi Alba and squared for Borja Iglesias to slam house.
Juanmi might need made it two however was denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen earlier than Messi got here on for Miralem Pjanic within the 57th minute and equalised within the 59th. Dembele returned a go to the Argentinian on the sting of the world and he drove a scorching shot contained in the submit.
9 minutes later, Barca have been in entrance, Alba’s cross mishit by Antoine Griezmann, just for the ball to cannon in anyway off the legs of Victor Ruiz.
Betis weren’t completed but and neither was Ruiz, the defender making amends by heading in Nabil Fekir’s crossed free-kick with 15 minutes left.
But Barcelona had another trick up their sleeve as Messi weaved in from the left and his chipped go was headed into the trail of the 21-year-old Trincao, whose thundering shot flew in off the crossbar.