Barcelona rout Betis; Real Madrid beat Almeria

Sports Desk, Apr 29 (EFE).- Barcelona thrashed 10-man Real Betis 4-0 Saturday and Real Madrid cruised to a 4-2 win over Almeria to leave the gap between the current LaLiga leaders and the defending champions unchanged.

The Blaugrana have 79 points, 11 better than the Blancos, who in turn have an edge of 5 points over cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid, though the Colchoneros have a game in hand.

Andreas Christensen scored off a corner in the 14th minute to give the hosts an early lead at Camp Nou against visiting Betis, who went down to 10 men in the 33rd after defender Edgar Gonzalez picked up a second yellow card.

Three minutes later, Barcelona led 2-0 on Robert Lewandowski’s 19th LaLiga goal in his first season with the Catalan club.

A goal by Raphinha in the 39th minute was initially disallowed for offside, but VAR overruled the referee and Barcelona’s advantage grew to 3-0.

Lewandowski hit the post in the 57th minute and the fourth goal would come in the 82nd off the foot of Betis midfielder Guido Rodriguez, whose attempt to deal with Ansu Fati’s cross went badly awry.

Betis had been reduced to nine men a minute earlier, when Joaquin left the field hurt with no substitutions left.

With the game won, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez pulled Gavi in favor of 15-year-old Lamine Yamal, who became the youngest-ever player to appear for the club in an official match.

As if that distinction wasn’t enough, the debutant went for goal in the 86th minute, forcing a stop from Rui Silva.

Real Betis, with one win in their last six league matches, remain 6th in the table, 7 points out of the top four.

Hosting 15th-place Almeria at the Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid grabbed the lead in the 5th minute with the first of three goals by Karim Benzema.

The 2022 Ballon d’Or doubled the lead in the 17th minute and completed the hat trick in the 42nd, converting a penalty Largie Ramazani fouled Lucas Vazquez in the box.

Almeria striker Lazaro beat Thibaut Courtois in first-half stoppage time to make it 3-1 at the break. But Rodrygo restored the three-goal margin seconds into the second half with a thunderous strike from the edge of the box.

Just past the hour mark, Almeria sub Lucas Robertone exploited some careless defending to narrow the deficit.

The Blancos would go on to have two goals called back for offside – Rodrygo in the 63rd and Eduardo Camavinga in the 89th – and the game ended 4-2.

EFE /dr

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