Sports, Football

Barca secure Champions League spot

By Reuters
Published : 08 May 2022 09:56 PM

A stoppage-time goal from defender Jordi Alba earned Barcelona a 2-1 LaLiga win at Real Betis on Saturday, securing Xavi Hernandez's side Champions League qualification and edging them closer to a spot at the lucrative Spanish Super Cup finals.

Alba received a precise pass from Dani Alves in the final seconds of the game and lashed the ball past goalkeeper Rui Silva with a superbly-taken, first-time volley.

With the league title already sealed by Real Madrid, Barcelona are now second on 69 points in the standings, five points clear of Sevilla in third and eight ahead of Atletico Madrid in fourth, both with one game in hand.

"We have taken a weight off our shoulders. It could have been a more complicated and difficult season," Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez told reporters.

"It is clear that we have to play better. We have to analyse it, but we have made a titanic effort from November until now.

"We will be in the Champions League, the competition we deserve. Now we want to be second (in the league)."

Betis forward Juanmi had the first sight of goal in an entertaining match, but his effort could only find the side-netting in the seventh minute.

Ten minutes later Manuel Pellegrini's side lost goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to injury as he hurt himself stretching to reach for the ball and was replaced by Rui Silva.

The Portuguese substitute, however, produced an excellent display, starting with a superb save from Ronald Araujo's bullet header minutes after entering the pitch.

Betis created more opportunities in a lively first half, but substitute Ansu Fati put the visitors ahead after the break with a low shot towards the left corner in the 76th minute.

Barca's lead did not last long, as three minutes later former Barcelona defender Marc Bartra levelled for the Copa del Rey champions with a header.

But Alba sealed the game in the dying minutes.