Sub Messi at the double to spur Barcelona

·2-min read

Lionel Messi came off the bench at halftime to score twice as Barcelona beat 10-man Real Betis 5-2 on Saturday to end their four-game winless streak in Spain's La Liga.

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said that he gave Messi some rare rest during the first half after his star player felt he needed more time to recover from Wednesday's 2-1 win over Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.

It was Messi's first league game as a substitute in more than a year but his impact was immediate as he helped set up a goal for Antoine Griezmann with brilliant improvisation and then found the target twice.

"If he had been completely fine, he would have played (from the start)," Koeman said. "We decided to leave him on the bench in case we needed him. In the second half, he was very important."

Messi spent the first half tucked in a winter coat and wearing a face mask like other substitutes in the otherwise empty Nou Camp.

That all changed when he went on at the start of the second half for Ansu Fati and had a decisive impact.

Within four minutes, he smartly skipped over a pass to let it run though for Griezmann to tap home.

He continued to show his playmaking skills. Deep inside the Betis area, he turned and fed a pass to Dembele, whose shot was goal-bound when defender Aissa Mandi blocked it with his arm.

A video review led to Mandi being shown a red card for impeding a clear goal.

Messi stepped up and casually blasted his spot kick into the top right corner to make it 3-1 in the 61st.

Lorenzo Moron got one back for Betis in the 73rd after Barcelona's defence struggled to mark winger Alex Moreno.

Yet Messi put the result beyond doubt when Sergi Roberto set him up with a fine back-heeled pass for the Argentina forward to get his sixth goal in all competitions this season.

Lucas Ocampos converted a retaken penalty kick to give Sevilla a 1-0 win over Osasuna.

Sevilla had lost three league games in a row.

After being fouled in the area, Ocampos' first spot kick was saved by Sergio Herrera.

But Ocampos got another chance after Herrera was penalised for having left his line too early.

Rafa Mir scored to give Huesca a 1-1 draw with Eibar, who had gone ahead with a goal from Esteban Burgos.