Real Betis vs. Barcelona – Match Report – January 12, 2023

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RIAD (EFE) — The Spanish Super Cup is being dominated by the goalkeepers. Belgian Thibaut Courtois sustained Real Madrid against Valencia and German Marc-Andre Ter Stegen responded with another great performance, saving two penalties in the shootout against Betis (2-4) after a two-goal draw to give Arabia Saudi his first classic in a final.

Xavi Hérnández said in the preview that the key to the game was going to be who had more of the ball and these indications were noted in the first half hour of the game, in which Barcelona dominated the ball and stole easily against a Betis that took time to engage on the pitch of the King Fahd stadium.

Of course, he warned of the problems that the Barça team would later have in defense, who did not notice that they reached the Spanish Super Cup being the team with the least goals scored in the domestic competition, with 6 goals conceded, of the five big leagues.

A weak pass behind the Frenchman Jules Kounde was close to taking advantage of it by his compatriot Nabil Fekir, but the Uruguayan Ronald Araujo came quickly to snatch the ball from behind when Fekir had already passed the German Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

Barça reacted quickly, a minute later, and at minute 23 they took the lead on the scoreboard, but the goal did not end up being reflected on the light. The goal of the Spanish Pedri was annulled by a millimeter offside by the Brazilian Raphinha, the author of the pass, indicated after the intervention of the semi-automatic offside technology, released in a Spanish competition in this Super Cup.

Those of Xavi celebrated and their concentration seemed to stay there. The Argentinian German Pezzella, with a header at the near post after a corner -a strategic move sought in each corner kick by Pellegrini’s men as a hole to create danger- and a low cross to the far post, in which only the Spanish Sergi Roberto was able to snatch the goal from his compatriot Rodri Sánchez, who easily beat him during the match, they showed that Betis was alive in the semi-final, until Lewandowski appeared in the 40th minute.

The Pole, sanctioned in LaLiga Santander with three games, returned, after completing the first, with desire, although imprecise. Even for his goal, he needed two shots and thus culminated a gallop by Frenchman Ousmane Dembélé caused by a magnificent deception maneuver when Pedri left the ball, who, with a movement of his body and raising his head, made all the pressure tilt in Betis ball going to the opposite side where he was going to put the ball to Dembélé.

Pellegrini’s men wanted to show again that they knew how to react to blows, but, as the Belgian Thibut Courtois did this Wednesday, Ter Stegen appeared to thwart, in the 45th minute, a shot by Rodri at the near post and another hard one from the Brazilian Luiz Henrique .

Barça lived on the wire, without being able to control the game as it did in the first half hour of it. For this reason, Xavi turned to Busquets, who was a surprise substitute in which, after leaving him in the 63rd minute, he added his 700th official match with the Barça shirt.

A break in which the coach was whistled, contrasting with the affection he has received since his arrival in Saudi Arabia, where he played and directed games with Al Sadd from Qatar, by removing Dembélé from the pitch, the most active until then and the more loved by the local fans.

Without him on the field, the spark in Barça’s attack went out and in the face of the uncertainty, of an open game but without great chances, the magic changed sides and Fekir took command, supported by an electric Luiz Henrique up front and willful behind.

A cut from the second inside the area, taking three defenders away, led to an equalizer in the 77th minute by Fekir, who shot hard and hard at the near post inside the area. This time Ter Stegen did not appear, but in favor of Betis it took four minutes for history to repeat itself.

Another Barcelona goal disallowed, this time against Lewandowski due to a previous offside by Ferran Torres. Immediately afterwards, the Verdiblancos had another opportunity to score in the boots of Juan Miranda, after another quality action by Fekir, but, like 24 hours ago, the Rey Fahd stadium saw an extension.

Ansu Fati could not avoid it in the second minute of extra time, since his shot from the outside after a run into space was stopped by Claudio Bravo, but already in extra time he showed, in a special game for him, since it was against Betis on November 7, 2020 when his injury ordeal began, which despite these physical problems has not lost its star.

He scored in the 93rd minute with a left-footed volley shot, crossed to the far post, which seemed to decide extra time in favor of the Barça team, but Betis once again did not give up, like Loren himself, who was the one who equalized the goal again. marker.

The striker had not played since last August 20, without being on Pellegrini’s list for the Europa League, 13 minutes into the season… and he invented a heel shot, with his back in the small area, to make it 2-2 and keep repeating the Real Madrid-Valencia script, the other semifinal also decided in a penalty shootout.

And, again, with a goalkeeper as the great protagonist. This Thursday it was the turn of a Ter Stegen who stopped two penalties, Juanmi and William Carvalho, to achieve, together with the final convert by Pedri, that Saudi Arabia has its long-awaited classic in the final of the Spanish Super Cup.

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