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Barcelona, May 5 (EFE).- Barcelona came from behind to beat an impressive Real Betis squad 4-2 on Sunday, with Leo Messi scoring two goals within 16 minutes in the second period.
Barcelona thus reestablished an 11-point advantage over second-placed Real Madrid with four games remaining in the tourney and might just win the Spanish soccer championship next Wednesday without even playing, depending on the result of the Real Madrid-Malaga match.
The match was a replay of what has plagued Barca all season: defensive errors, a lack of forcefulness in the backfield and a dependence on its star. That latter point was made evident when the 25-year-old Messi came off the bench in the 56th minute and rapidly sank two goals to put the then-tied game out of reach for Real Betis.
It was Dorlan Pabon who scored for Betis on an excellent effort in just the 2nd minute, but Alexis Sanchez evened things up shortly afterward on an assist by Andres Iniesta. Nevertheless, Ruben Perez made a brilliant effort in the 43rd minute on a pass from Nosa Igiebor and regained the advantage for Betis just before the break, although Barca had missed multiple chances, due primarily to David Villa's inability to find the twine.
Once the second half got under way, however, Villa finally managed to score for Barca reestablishing the tie, but then he was pulled and Messi was inserted, booting in his magnificent first goal on a free kick, his 45th tally in this year's Liga competition, just five minutes later.
And in the 72nd minute, it was Messi again - on a beautiful combination from Iniesta and Alexis - who buried the ball for the 4-2 result.