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17th Mar 2019

Lionel Messi scores perfect free-kick to give Barcelona lead at Betis

Simon Lloyd

Messi opened the scoring in Seville

Lionel Messi produced yet another moment of magic for Barcelona on Sunday evening, giving them the lead with a perfect free-kick away to Real Betis.

Having scored twice in the midweek 5-1 thrashing of Lyon in the Champions League, Messi curled home the set-piece in the 18th minute of the game at Estadio Benito Villamarín as Barca looked to extend their lead at the top of the table.

A win in the game – shown on free-to-air television in the UK by ITV 4 – would see Barca move ten points clear of second place Atletico Madrid, who were downed 2-0 by Athletic Club at San Mamés on Saturday.

Inaki Williams had given Athletic the lead in that game with little over a quarter of an hour to play in Bilbao. Kenan Kodro completed the scoring five minutes from time.

A win against Betis was by no means a formality for Barca, however. Earlier in the season, they lost to them 4-3 at the Nou Camp and remain the only side to beat Erneste Valverde’s team on their own patch this season.

Barcelona look well placed to retain their Spanish crown and will also hope to progress to the Champions League semi-finals having drawn Manchester United in the last eight of the competition on Friday.

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