AJuanmi goal late in the second half gave a solid Real Betis side a huge 1-0 victory against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in what is Xavi Hernandez‘s first defeat in the Blaugrana dugout.
Xavi fielded a rotated line-up, leaving both Gerard Pique and Frenkie de Jong on the bench ahead of Barcelona‘s important Champions League clash against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
The Blaugrana had a lot of the ball in the first 15 minutes, with Philippe Coutinho being particularly active in the final third, but they failed to create any danger in front of Rui Silva‘s goal.
Gavi had to be stretched off amidst an ovation from the Barcelona fans after the half an hour mark after receiving a blow to his head, with Riqui Puig coming off the bench to replace the youngster.
Meanwhile, Betis grew into the game and tried to hit on the counter, but they lacked a final pass in Marc-Andre ter Stegen‘s box before the break.
Betis started the second half well and had a goal disallowed in the 52nd minute, when Juanmi managed to beat Ter Stegen from an offside position.
Ousmane Dembele came off the bench on the hour mark and made an immediate impact, with Barcelona attacking from his side and looking dangerous in the final third.
The Catalan side pushed forward and attempted to break down Betis‘ defence from either dead balls or cutbacks in the box, but they failed to find the back of the net and were punished by the visitors as an in-form Juanmi netted on the counter to put his team ahead.
This was Juanmi‘s 11th goal in 16 games across all competitions, with the Betis forward being LaLiga Santander’s top Spanish scorer so far this term with nine goals.
Then, Abde Ezzalzouli sent the ball miles over the bar with eight minutes to go in his last touch in the match before making way for Luuk de Jong, who didn’t manage to threaten Rui Silva in the remaining minutes.
With this win, Betis climb up to third spot in the LaLiga Santander table, while Barcelona remain in seventh position after their second loss on home soil this season.
0 – Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet (Pique, min. 82), Alba; Nico (F. De Jong, min. 59), Busquets, Gavi (Puig, min. 36); Abde (L. De Jong, min.82), Memphis, Coutinho (Dembele, min 59).
1 – Betis: Silva; Bellerin, Bartra, Ruiz, Moreno; Rodriguez, Guardado; Rubial (Tello, min. 63), Canales, Juanmi (Iglesias, min. 81); Willian Jose (Carvalho, min. 71).
Goals: 0-1, min. 79: Juanmi.
Referee: Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes (Gijon).
Yellow cards: Canales (min. 12) and Rodriguez (min. 73) for Real Betis, Nico (min. 42) for Barcelona.
Stadium: Camp Nou.