A last-gasp winner on the part of Jordi Alba on Saturday evening ensured that Spanish giants Barcelona will be plying their trade amongst the elite of European football once more in the 2022/23 campaign.
Xavi Hernandez’s troops were of course back in action a short time ago.
Fresh off a much-needed return to winning ways at the expense of RCD Mallorca last time out, the Blaugrana made the trip to the Estadio Benito Villamarin, for a La Liga showdown with Real Betis.
And, when all was said and done, a pulsating affair culminated in Barca making it two wins from two, in the most spectacular fashion imaginable.
The evening’s scoring was opened fifteen minutes from time, when youngster Ansu Fati, after being introduced off the bench for his first appearance since January, did superbly to control a floated ball from the left, before turning and picking out the bottom corner of Betis’ net with a clever effort back across goal:
ANSU FATI SCORES OFF THE BENCH FOR BARCELONA pic.twitter.com/M1GQZ5pU18
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 7, 2022
The visitors were soon pegged back, though, as former Blaugrana defender Marc Bartra nodded home from Nabil Fekir’s free-kick to set up a tense final ten minutes.
Then, just when it appeared as though proceedings were set to fizzle out into a 1-1 stalemate, what proved the game’s winner was forthcoming.
With a full 93 minutes on the clock, a lofted ball to the back post was met in sumptuous fashion by Jordi Alba, who thundered a volley into the roof of the net to ensure that Barcelona would return to Catalunya in possession of all three points:
— El Forastero (@ElForadeportivo) May 7, 2022
Champions League booked
Barca, in turn, have now officially booked their spot in next season’s Champions League, having climbed a full 11 points clear of 5th-placed Betis in the La Liga table.
Much credit, of course, must go to Xavi for this achievement, with the Blaugrana having been stuck in the depths of mid-table upon his return to the club late last year, and now sitting pretty in 2nd, with the future looking an altogether bright one at the Camp Nou.
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) May 7, 2022