Real Betis gave Barcelona a good fight and even led at halftime, but a Lionel Messi brace in the second half helped Barca pull away for the 4-2 victory at the Camp Nou. Barcelona reopen their lead over Real Madrid to 11 points and will finally be able to clinch the league title next week with a win over Atletico Madrid.
Real Betis took a quick lead after Jordi Alba and Adriano got caught out after Betis quickly countered on a José Manuel Pinto goal kick. Jorge Molina moved the ball out to the right to Dorlan Pabon with a glancing header and the striker beat Pinto to the left corner, putting the visitors up 1-0 in the 2nd minute.
Barca responded well and it only took seven minutes for them to equalize behind a well executed diving header from Alexis Sanchez. Andres Iniesta did the work down the left wing creating enough space to deliver a cross towards the far post where Alexis cut inside Antonio Amaya and beat Adrián to make it 1-1.
Despite near misses from David Villa and a Cristian Tello goal that appared to cross the line but was not given, it looked as if the match would reach the break even, but it wasn't to be.
Just two minutes from the break Rubén Pérez uncorked an absolute missile from 25-yards out that Pinto had no chance of stopping before it tucked itself into the upper left corner, putting Betis back ahead 2-1.
Just as Lionel Messi was readying to enter the game in the 56th minute for David Villa, the Spanish striker scored on a diving header finishing off a floating cross from Dani Alves to bring Barcelona back even at 2-2.
Messi needed less than five minutes to make an impact and gave Barcelona the lead in the 60th minute with a blistering free kick from just outside the Betis area. Messi's curling shot got up and down over the wall and glanced off the fingertips of Adrián and into the top corner giving the Blaugrana their first lead of the day at 3-2.
Messi, always a fan of getting more than one goal, added his second of the game and extended Barca's lead to 4-2 in the 71st minute. Iniesta found Sanchez moving into the box with a clever back-heel pass and Chilean skipped the quick shot and waited patiently before delivering the ball to Messi who made his run at the far post for the tap-in.