Lionel MESSI double, Gio LO CELSO scores in Barcelona, Real Betis

Credit PA

Betis started with a swagger - Joaquin blazing over after six minutes - and were rewarded in the 20th minute when Junior collected William Carvalho's pass on the left, cut inside Sergi Roberto and fired a crisp drive inside Ter Stegen's right-hand post.

Spanish outlet Marca reported this week that the club are unhappy at the way the player informed them of his illness, and Valverde said on Saturday: "The talent that Dembele has is hard to find and we have to help him take advantage of it".

But the recovery stalled three minutes later as Marc-Andre ter Stegen let Lo Celso's shot slip through his fingers and drop into the far corner for 3-1.

Ernesto Valverde's side remain at the top of La Liga, one point ahead of Atletico Madrid and Alaves.

In better news for Barca: Leo Messi is back from injury.

His second was a tap in from close range.

Joaquin Sanchez made it 2-0 for Betis before halftime.

Real Betis took advantage of their numerical strength just two minutes after red card was shown to Rakitic to make the scores 4-2 in the 83rd minute - Sergio Canales the goal scorer.

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Espanyol could jump both and move level on points with the Catalans when they visit Sevilla later on Sunday.

Betis, meanwhile, climb to 12th.

The former Spain defender was turned inside out by Betis' rampant attackers in a hapless first-half display and looked like a shadow of his former self alongside Lenglet at the heart of the Barca backline.

Barca had the momentum and in the 68th minute, they pulled one back, with Jordi Alba pulled down by Tello, and Messi converting the penalty for his eighth league goal of the season.

Gio LO CELSO also scored, his was a shot which goalkeeper TER STEGEN tried to catch but it went through the hands of the German.

But Barcelona was left with 10 men in the 82nd when Ivan Rakitic earned a second booking for a hard tackle on Lo Celso.

Messi added his second in injury-time, tapping a Vidal pass over the line.

Messi's second goal of the afternoon was initially ruled out for offside before the decision was overturned by the VAR, but Betis held on for a famous victory.

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