Barcelona player ratings v Real Betis: Ansu Fati 8, Jordi Alba 8, Memphis Depay 6

Catalans claim last-minute 2-1 win at Benito Villamarin to guarantee place in next season's Champions League

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez said a weight had been lifted after a last-gasp 2-1 La Liga win at Real Betis on Saturday night secured Champions League qualification.

Substitute Ansu Fati put Barca ahead with a low shot towards the left corner in the 76th minute, only for Betis defender - and former Barca player - Marc Bartra to level three minutes later.

Jordi Alba then grabbed a stunning winner deep in injury time, lashing 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," Xavi said. "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)."

It marks an impressive turnaround since Xavi replaced the sacked Ronaldo Koeman in November, when Barcelona were ninth in La Liga. Particularly pleasing for the Catalans was the goalscoring return of Fati, who found the net less than two minutes after coming onto the pitch having been sidelined with another long-term injury.

"They were two great goals," Xavi added. "Ansu makes a difference.

"The second goal was earned. It's a great goal, the cross, the finish... we worked on it yesterday. We knew that they stop on the edge of the box. When what you worked on works, it's the best feeling."

Barcelona, who have won 10 of their last 12 league matches, are close to wrapping up second place and earning the €3.4 million ($3.58m) the club would make by competing in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

Both Copa del Rey finalists – winners Betis and runners-up Valencia – will be joined in the 2023 Spanish Super Cup finals by the top two teams in the La Liga standings.

Betis, meanwhile, missed an opportunity to move level on points with fourth-placed Atletico in their bid to secure a spot in Champions League next season, as they remain fifth with 58 points.

Before the match, Barcelona gave a guard of honour to the Betis players for their cup victory last month.

Andy Mitten has provided his Barcelona player ratings from the match at Benito Villamarin in the photo gallery above. To move on to the next photo, click on the arrows or if using a mobile device, simply swipe.

Updated: May 08, 2022, 8:25 AM
EDITOR'S PICKS