Jordi Alba’s stoppage-time goal gave Barcelona a 2-1 LaLiga victory against Real Betis on Saturday, guaranteeing Xavi Hernandez’s team Champions League qualifying and moving them closer to the lucrative Spanish Super Cup finals.
In the waning seconds of the game, Alba received a beautiful feed from Dani Alves and smashed the ball past goalkeeper Rui Silva with a spectacular first-time volley.
With Real Madrid already having won the championship, Barcelona is currently second in the standings with 69 points, five points ahead of Sevilla in third and eight points ahead of Atletico Madrid in fourth, both with one game in hand.
Juanmi, a Betis striker, got the first shot on goal in an intriguing contest, but his attempt went wide in the seventh minute.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team suffered an injury to goalkeeper Claudio Bravo ten minutes later as he stretched to grab for the ball and was replaced by Rui Silva.
The Portuguese replacement, on the other hand, put on a great performance, beginning with a spectacular stop from Ronald Araujo’s bullet header minutes after joining the field.
Betis had more chances in the first half, but Ansu Fati put the visitors ahead after the interval with a low strike into the left corner in the 76th minute.
Barca’s advantage did not last long, as former Barcelona defender Marc Bartra equalized for the Copa del Rey winners with a header three minutes later.
However, Alba clinched the game in the last minutes.
Barcelona, who has won 10 of their previous 12 league games, is closing in on second place and the 3.4 million euros that the club would earn by competing in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.
The champions of the Copa del Rey, Betis, and runners-up Valencia, will be joined in the 2023 Spanish Super Cup finals by the top two clubs in the LaLiga standings.
Meanwhile, Betis squandered a chance to draw level on points with fourth-placed Atletico Madrid in their quest to qualify for the Champions League next season, remaining fifth with 58 points.
Before the game, Barcelona presented the Betis players with a guard of honor in recognition of their cup triumph last month.