Barcelona have officially clinched a place in next season’s UEFA Champions League thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 win over Real Betis thanks to a last-second winner by Jordi Alba.
Both teams lived up to the pre-match expectations and attacked each other for 90 minutes, and a wildly entertaining game ended with the biggest win of the season for Xavi Hernández and his troops.
There was no clear better team in the period, with stretches of dominance of possession by each side and both defenses looking quite vulnerable at times which led to a few big chances: Ronald Araujo had Barça’s best hitting the crossbar after winning a header off a Memphis Depay corner, and Memphis himself also came close to scoring with a powerful outside shot that was saved by Rui Silva.
At halftime a high-level game full of excellent attacking football was somehow goalless, but the feeling was that things were about to change in the second half.
Xavi brought Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ansu Fati off the bench hoping for some late magic to find the winning goal, and after Aubameyang missed a big chance with his first touch it was time for Ansu to work his magic: the Prince needed just one minute on the pitch to put Barça ahead after receiving a pass from Jordi Alba inside the box and finding the bottom corner with a smart finish.
Dani Alves played a beautiful cross from the right and found the run of Alba who fired a spectacular volley that flew into the net to give Barça all three points as the final whistle came just seconds after Alba’s amazing strike.
Barça have qualified for next season’s Champions League thanks to a brilliant win in a spectacular football match, and Xavi’s debut season is officially a success