Live Commentary: Real Betis 1-1 Barcelona – as it happened:
Betis have collected 22 points from their 19 league matches this season, with that total leaving them in 14th spot in Spain’s top flight.
Barcelona, meanwhile, have won their last two in the league and would move above Real Madrid to the summit with all three points here.
Barcelona have won each of the last seven league meetings between the two sides, with Betis failing to beat the Catalan giants in Spain’s top flight since March 2008.
Barcelona have won each of the last seven league meetings between the two teams, including a 2-0 victory in the corresponding match last term. They also ran out 6-2 winners over Betis at Camp Nou towards the start of the current season. Betis did beat Barcelona in this stadium during the 2010-11 Copa del Rey, but they have not won against the Catalan giants in La Liga since March 2008.
As things stand, Real Madrid top La Liga on 43 points from 18 matches, Sevilla are second with 42 points from 19 matches and Barcelona third on 41 points from 19 matches. As Barcelona’s record from 19 matches reads won 12, drawn five and lost two. Their two defeats came against Deportation Alaves and Celta Vigo, but they have drawn with both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, and beaten Sevilla this season.
0 min: KICKOFF! Barcelona kick things off in Seville…
2 min… it must be said that there is a brilliant atmosphere inside the stadium this afternoon – the home supporters have turned up in their numbers. You just get the feeling that Betis need to get through the opening 10, 15 minutes without conceding if they are to stand a chance of a positive result here.
3 min: Durmisi has a pop from distance, but it is a comfortable save for Ter Stegen.
5 min: There have already been some tasty challenges this afternoon as both sets of players battle for control of the possession. The match is yet to settle due to the nature of Betis’ pressing game.
6 min: CHANCE! Super chance for the away side as Vidal delivers a brilliant cross towards Luis Suarez at the far post, but Durmisi is on hand to make a very important block!
8 min: Barcelona are very much in control of the possession at the moment as they continue to pass and probe in the final third of the field. Betis are working hard to close the space, but Messi is starting to pick up dangerous positions and pick little passes. Important period of the match here.
10 min: CHANCE! Opportunity for the home side this time as Ceballos looks to pick out Castro at the near post following a swift counter-attack, but Pique is on hand to make the clearance!
12 min:SAVE! Ter Stegen has to save from Castro as Barcelona wobble at the back once again. It was Mathieu this time that could not cope with the Betis press. Two chances in quick succession!
15 min: Well, 15 minutes on the clock and we are still goalless, but it has been a very entertaining start to this match. Barcelona have enjoyed most of the ball, but Betis have had two decent chances and have shown that they can upset this patched-up Barcelona back four. Fascinating game here.
16 min: Luis Suarez goes for the spectacular just inside Betis’ half of the field, but Adan makes the save. The Uruguay international is capable, that is for sure. Adan did not took too pleased with the effort.
17 min: Digne has a problem for Barcelona as he goes down holding his left leg. It does not look great and the away side might well be forced into a change early on. Jordi Alba is now warming-up here.
19 min: Digne is back on his feet and it does appear that the left-back will be fit to continue. Barcelona remain in control of the possession here, but Betis are enjoying the better moments in the final third of the field. You just get the feeling that the first goal could be all-important in this match.
19 min: SAVE! Ter Stegen has to fly across his goal to keep out a long-range strike from Ceballos. It was a super strike from the number 10, but an even better save from Ter Stegen!
22 min: Barcelona were in action against Sociedad on Thursday night and there does appear to be a bit of a hang-over from that match. Betis have been quicker across the pitch since the first minute of action, although it will be difficult for the hosts to maintain this level. Still goalless in Seville.
24 min: Piccini makes progress down the right before driving past Digne, but the Betis full-back wastes the moment as he delivers straight into the arms of Ter Stegen. Turan then over-hits one down the other end as Barcelona’s lacklustre performance continues. Betis are on top at the moment.
25 min: CHANCE! Super chance for the home side once again as Castro creates space outside the Barcelona box before driving into a dangerous position, but the striker never gets hold of the shot and the away side can clear their lines. He waited and waited, and then it was too late.
26 min: Neymar curls a poor free kick over the far post for the visitors.
27 min: Another half-chance for Castro, but the striker’s effort misses the near post. It must be said that Ceballos is having a wonderful game for the home side in the middle of the park.
29 min: CHANCE! Castro finds yet more space inside the Barcelona box before attempting to curl one towards the top corner, but Mathieu heads over his own crossbar!
32 min: Little under 15 minutes of the first period remaining and Betis continue to look the team more likely to make the breakthrough. Still no yellow cards in this match, but we must be getting close as late challenges continue to arrive. Barcelona have been really disappointing in this first period.
34 min: We have seen little from Luis Suarez in the opening 34 minutes of this match, but you just know that he is going to pop up at some point. Messi started well, but has not been too involved in the last 10 or 15 minutes here. Neymar, meanwhile, has struggled to influence matters from the left.
34 min: CHANCES! Couple of chances for the home side in quick succession, but Pardo just cannot meet a deep cross from Piccini, before the ball evades Castro when Durmisi fires back in!
36 min: It just has not happened for Barcelona in the opening 36 minutes of this match.
38 min: Adan takes a chance at the back and pressure from Neymar forces the Betis goalkeeper to fire into the stands. It might well take something like that for Barcelona to make the breakthrough here. There is no question that Betis have been the better team in the first period of this La Liga clash.
38 min: SAVE! Wonderful, wonderful save from Adan as the Betis goalkeeper keeps out Neymar after the Brazilian had been found by a sensational Messi pass. What a chance!
41 min: Just a few signs that Barcelona are finding their rhythm as we approach the final stages of this first period. Indeed, Betis are starting to make some mistakes and Messi is having more of an influence. Neymar looks to set up a chance for Luis Suarez as he slides a brilliant cross into the Betis box, but the offside flag was raised. Adan was not to know though and make another quite excellent save.
43 min: Dani Ceballos has been the star of the show in this match as the Betis midfielder continues to help his team defensively and indeed contribute in the final third. Barcelona, however, are looking very dangerous in the latter stages of this half as their front three continue to become involved.
43 min: BOOKING! Pique (Barcelona) is booked for chopping Castro to the deck.
44 min: Betis have a free kick in a very dangerous position following that Pique challenge…
45 min: Ceballos rolls the ball into Castro, but his strike is wild. Wasted set piece.
45 min+1Just the one minute of added time at the end of the first period.
45 min+1HALF-TIME: Betis 0-0 Barcelona
11.47am: So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. Betis have been brilliant in the opening 45 minutes and have indeed had a number of opportunities to make the breakthrough. Barcelona finished the half well after struggling for long periods, but it is proving to be a difficult match for the champions. Fascinating half of action from Seville!
11.52am: STATISTICS! Barcelona have dominated the possession with 71%, while they hit the target with two of their four first-half attempts. Betis, meanwhile, tested Ter Stegen with three of their 10 attempts in the opening 45 minutes. Just the one yellow card – Pique for chopping Castro to the deck.
11.57am: BENCH WATCH! Barcelona are not exactly flush with attacking options on their bench this afternoon, but Alcacer and Gomes are both available for Enrique. Betis, meanwhile, have the likes of Leiva and Zozulya on their bench in Seville. I would be surprised if there were alterations at the break.
46 min: RESTART! Betis resume the action on home soil…
47 min… no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, you suspect that both managers will already have alterations in mind for the second period here.
49 min: You just get the feeling that the first goal here – if there indeed is one – could be all-important. Surely Barcelona will improve in this half, although the issue of tiredness might well play a part. Betis need to maintain their tempo and intensity in the early stages of the second period here.
51 min: Castro has given Pique a torrid time this afternoon, but the Barcelona centre-back does well in their latest battle after Mathieu had made a poor challenge. Betis have a free kick in a dangerous position, however, as Vidal comes across and brings the charging Durmisi to the deck…
51 min… Pardo fires the ball into a host of bodies, but Ter Stegen manages to punch clear!
52 min: CHANCE! Super chance for Barcelona to take the lead as Messi delivers a wonderful cross onto the foot of Vidal, but the right-back’s volley is just wide of the far post!
54 min: Barcelona really, really cannot afford to drop points here. It would leave them one point behind Real Madrid, who would have two games in hand. Still a lot of football to be played in this match, however, and I would be surprised if it finished goalless. It is so delicately poised in Seville.
56 min: SAVE! Ter Stegen has to save from Alegria as Betis continue to threaten.
58 min: Little over 30 minutes of the second period remaining and we are still locked at 0-0 in this match. Betis are the team pressing forward as things stand, but Barcelona are always dangerous on the counter-attack. You just get the feeling that one goal could be enough to win this match.
59 min: Andre Gomes is going to be Barcelona’s first change here.
59 min: BARCELONA SUB! Andre Gomes replaces Denis Suarez.
61 min: Ter Stegen has his pocket picked by Castro and Durmisi looks to find the open goal from a very difficult angle, but his effort was always over the crossbar. Barcelona wobble at the back again!
63 min: Betis have been everything that Barcelona have not this afternoon, but the score is still goalless and you sense that Neymar, Messi or Luis Suarez could still have a say in this match. Barcelona do not deserve to win as things stand, but there is still a lot of football to be played in Seville.
64 min: Half-chance for the home side as Durmisi delivers a low cross towards Alegria, but Ter Stegen makes the claim. The German goalkeeper is in the wars again and he wants more treatment.
65 min: Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba will both soon enter the field for Barcelona.
67 min: BOOKING! Petros (Betis) is booked for throwing an arm into Pique’s face.
68 min: BARCELONA SUBS! Alba and Roberto replace Digne and Turan.
69 min: BETIS SUB! Ryan Donk replaces the debutant Pardo for Betis.
70 min: BOOKING! Rakitic (Barcelona) is booked for a late tackle on Petros.
71 min: CROSSBAR! Oh my word! Ceballos smashes one from distance as he looks to send Betis ahead, but the ball smashes off the crossbar. Deserved a goal there!
74 min: POST! It just will not go in for the home side! This time Castro carries and carries before sending one towards the bottom corner, but the post comes to Barcelona’s rescue!
75 min: GOAL! Betis 1-0 Barcelona (Alegria)
76 min: Betis finally make the breakthrough as Alegria turns home from close range after a poor punch from Ter Stegen, who presented the ball straight to the striker. What a moment for him!
77 min: CROSSBAR! Barcelona look for the immediate response and a low cross from Vidal causes all sorts of problems inside the Betis box, and Mandi turns against his own crossbar!
78 min: OFF-THE-LINE! Vidal’s low cross is deflected and looks to be finding the bottom corner, but Mandi clears off his own line. Sensational last couple of minutes here!
80 min: SAVE! Castro goes through for Betis in a one-on-one, but Ter Stegen saves!
81 min: CORRECTION! Barcelona should be level. The ball was a good yard over the line when Mandi hooked clear in the 78th minute. No goal-line technology has hurt the away side!
83 min: Hardly time to catch your breath at the moment during a sensational period of this game.
85 min: Very much backs against the wall for the home side at the moment as Barcelona continue to press and press in search of the equaliser. There will be serious words after the match if Betis hold on for all three points. The champions should be level with an own goal from Piccini!
86 min: BETIS SUB! Nahuel and Navarro replace Alegria and Petros.
88 min: Neymar hits one from range, but his effort was always comfortable for Adan.
90 min: Not long left in this one and Betis are closing on a sensational three points here.
90 min: GOAL! Betis 1-1 Barcelona (Suarez)
90 min+1: Barcelona finally level in the final minute as Luis Suarez sweeps the ball into the bottom corner after a mistake form Nahuel in the middle of the park. Incredible scenes in Seville.
90 min+2: We are into the second of three additional minutes here.
90 min+3: FULL-TIME: Betis 1-1 Barcelona
The referee brings the second period to a close with the points shared in what was a sensational game of football. Betis came so close to a rare win over the champions, but Luis Suarez struck at the death for 1-1. Thanks for joining us once again.