Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona maintained their Spanish league title challenge with an unconvincing home win against bottom side Real Betis.

Messi put Barca ahead from the penalty spot after Alexis Sanchez was fouled by Betis defender Jordi.

Barca doubled their lead when Jordi diverted Sanchez's intended pass to Pedro past his own goalkeeper Adan.

Betis responded inside a minute through Ruben Castro before Messi converted after Adan saved his second spot-kick.

The final whistle at the Nou Camp was greeted with a sense of relief by the home supporters after a tumultuous week for the reigning La Liga champions.

The Catalan club's reputation had taken another blow after they were given a 14-month transfer ban - which they have appealed against - by Fifa.

But, back on the pitch, they moved back to within a point of leaders Atletico Madrid, who clinched a narrow 1-0 home win against Villarreal earlier on Saturday.

Third-placed Real Madrid remain two points behind Barca with a 4-0 win at Real Sociedad. later on Saturday.

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)

Barcelona

  • 13 Pinto Colorado
  • 22 Dani Alves
  • 21 Adriano
  • 16 Busquets
  • 15 Bartra
  • 14 Mascherano
  • 06 Xavi (Song - 88' )
  • 08 Iniesta (Fábregas - 79' )
  • 10 Messi
  • 09 Sánchez
  • 07 Pedro (Neymar - 79' )

Substitutes

  • 02 Montoya
  • 04 Fábregas
  • 11 Neymar
  • 17 Song
  • 20 Tello
  • 24 Sergi
  • 25 Olazábal Paredes

Real Betis

  • 01 Adán
  • 11 Juanfran
  • 17 Pérez López
  • 21 Reyes Booked
  • 04 Amaya Booked
  • 25 Jordi
  • 18 N'Diaye
  • 08 Nono
  • 06 Baptistao (Rodríguez - 82' )
  • 22 Cedrick (Castro - 61' )
  • 07 Vadillo (Molina - 61' )

Substitutes

  • 02 Chica Torres
  • 03 Paulão
  • 13 Sara
  • 16 Rodríguez
  • 19 Molina
  • 24 Castro
  • 46 Ceballos Fernández
Ref: Eduardo Prieto Iglesias
Att: 81,978

Match Stats

Shots

12 12

On target

4 4

Corners

4 4

Fouls

9 16

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Barcelona 3, Real Betis 1.

90:00 +3:05 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Barcelona 3, Real Betis 1.

90:00 +2:24

Attempt missed. Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Lionel Messi following a fast break.

90:00 +1:06

Offside, Barcelona. Francesc Fábregas tries a through ball, but Neymar is caught offside.

88:22

Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

88:22

Foul by Alfred N'Diaye (Real Betis).

87:53 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Barcelona. Alexandre Song replaces Xavi.

85:14 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Barcelona 3, Real Betis 1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal following a set piece situation.

85:13

Penalty saved! Lionel Messi (Barcelona) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, left footed shot saved in the bottom right corner.

84:08

Penalty conceded by Antonio Amaya (Real Betis) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

83:31

Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

83:31

Foul by Lorenzo Reyes (Real Betis).

82:34

Foul by Javier Mascherano (Barcelona).

82:34

Braian Rodríguez (Real Betis) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

81:42 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Real Betis. Braian Rodríguez replaces Leo Baptistao.

81:00

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Juan Carlos.

79:33

Foul by Dani Alves (Barcelona).

79:33

Rubén Castro (Real Betis) wins a free kick on the left wing.

78:25 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Barcelona. Neymar replaces Pedro.

78:08 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Barcelona. Francesc Fábregas replaces Andrés Iniesta.

77:34

Offside, Barcelona. Xavi tries a through ball, but Pedro is caught offside.

76:52 Booking

Booking Antonio Amaya (Real Betis) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

76:46

Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

76:46

Foul by Antonio Amaya (Real Betis).

76:06

Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

75:11

Corner, Real Betis. Conceded by Sergio Busquets.

74:18

Foul by Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona).

74:18

Juanfran (Real Betis) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

72:29

Hand ball by Lorenzo Reyes (Real Betis).

71:06

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Adriano with a cross.

69:54

Pedro (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

69:54

Foul by Antonio Amaya (Real Betis).

69:17

Foul by Dani Alves (Barcelona).

69:17

Rubén Castro (Real Betis) wins a free kick on the left wing.

67:56 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Barcelona 2, Real Betis 1. Rubén Castro (Real Betis) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner following a fast break.

66:03 Goal scored

Goal! Own Goal by Jordi Figueras, Real Betis. Barcelona 2, Real Betis 0.

63:44

Corner, Real Betis. Conceded by Pinto.

63:43

Attempt saved. Alfred N'Diaye (Real Betis) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Jorge Molina.

60:43

Attempt missed. Rubén Castro (Real Betis) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Juanfran.

60:14 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Real Betis. Rubén Castro replaces Cedrick.

60:09 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Real Betis. Jorge Molina replaces Álvaro Vadillo.

59:30 Booking

Booking Lorenzo Reyes (Real Betis) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

59:24

Xavi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

59:24

Foul by Lorenzo Reyes (Real Betis).

57:06

Attempt missed. Cedrick (Real Betis) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left.

56:25

Attempt missed. Álvaro Vadillo (Real Betis) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

54:41

Offside, Barcelona. Alexis Sánchez tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

54:18

Hand ball by Lorenzo Reyes (Real Betis).

51:56

Foul by Dani Alves (Barcelona).

51:56

Álvaro Vadillo (Real Betis) wins a free kick on the left wing.

50:18

Xavi (Barcelona) hits the bar with a right footed shot from outside the box from a direct free kick.

49:18

Dani Alves (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

49:18

Foul by Antonio Amaya (Real Betis).

46:17

Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

46:17

Foul by Cedrick (Real Betis).

45:10

Foul by Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona).

45:10

Juan Carlos (Real Betis) wins a free kick on the left wing.

45:00

Second Half begins Barcelona 1, Real Betis 0.

45:00 +0:04 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Barcelona 1, Real Betis 0.

43:41

Foul by Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona).

43:41

Antonio Amaya (Real Betis) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

42:23

Attempt blocked. Alfred N'Diaye (Real Betis) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

41:50

Corner, Real Betis. Conceded by Xavi.

40:56

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Andrés Iniesta.

39:04

Foul by Marc Bartra (Barcelona).

39:04

Álvaro Vadillo (Real Betis) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:10

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Antonio Amaya.

35:07

Attempt blocked. Adriano (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Pedro.

33:02

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Jordi Figueras.

32:59

Attempt blocked. Xavi (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Pedro.

26:58

Attempt missed. Álvaro Vadillo (Real Betis) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

25:50

Attempt saved. Álvaro Vadillo (Real Betis) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Leo Baptistao.

20:41

Attempt missed. Álvaro Vadillo (Real Betis) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Alfred N'Diaye with a headed pass.

18:30

Attempt saved. Cedrick (Real Betis) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Leo Baptistao.

17:14

Foul by Sergio Busquets (Barcelona).

17:14

Nono (Real Betis) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

16:24

Attempt missed. Cedrick (Real Betis) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Antonio Amaya.

15:49

Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

15:49

Foul by Alfred N'Diaye (Real Betis).

15:35

Attempt missed. Nono (Real Betis) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

15:00

Offside, Barcelona. Pedro tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

14:01 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Barcelona 1, Real Betis 0. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the centre of the goal.

13:16

Penalty Barcelona. Alexis Sánchez draws a foul in the penalty area.

13:16

Penalty conceded by Jordi Figueras (Real Betis) after a foul in the penalty area.

10:58

Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

10:58

Foul by Leo Baptistao (Real Betis).

10:13

Attempt saved. Xavi (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Adriano.

9:46

Dani Alves (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

9:46

Foul by Nono (Real Betis).

9:07

Attempt missed. Marc Bartra (Barcelona) header from very close range is too high. Assisted by Lionel Messi with a cross following a corner.

8:36

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Juan Carlos.

5:45

Offside, Barcelona. Lionel Messi tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

4:53

Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

4:53

Foul by Lorenzo Reyes (Real Betis).

3:48

Alexis Sánchez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

3:48

Foul by Juan Carlos (Real Betis).

2:17

Corner, Real Betis. Conceded by Marc Bartra.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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