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Barcelona stunned by Betis
Frank Rijkaard describes his team's second-half performance as 'inexplicable'.
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2008 07:05 GMT

In a game of two halves, Real Betis took the points |as Barcelona slipped to third [AFP]

Frank Rijkaard, Barcelona manager, said he was embarrassed by his team's woeful second half performance in their 3-2 defeat at lowly Real Betis that may have ended their hopes of winning the La Liga title.
Barca looked to be in total control with a 2-0 lead after 15 minutes, but Betis scored three times in 14 minutes in the second half, with the defeat leaving the Catalans four points behind league leaders Real Madrid who have a game in hand.
"We saw two different Barcelona sides and I feel embarrassed about the result," Rijkaard said.

"We dominated the first half and it is difficult to comprehend how the match changed so much in the second half. We talked at the interval and said we would have to go out motivated and keep up the pressure.

"All we needed to do was carry on like the first half but it didn't happen and is inexplicable."

"All we needed to do was carry on like the first half but it didn't happen and is inexplicable."

Frank Rijkaard

To make matters worse for Rijkaard's side, Villarreal then moved into second place on the table, one  point ahead of Barca, thanks to an impressive 3-0 win over Atletico Madrid.

Barca raced to a two-goal lead with early goals from Bojan Krkic and Samuel Eto'o, and Betis looked set to be buried with the visitors producing a mesmerising first half display.

However things changed dramatically after the break with Edu scoring just after the hour mark to make it 2-1.

Victor Valdes, Barca keeper, saved a penalty from Edu, after Eric Abidal brought down David Odonkor, but 60 seconds later Juanito scored a 75th minute equaliser with a brilliant volley.

Edu then more than made amends for his missed spot-kick, as he sent the winning goal rocketing past Valdes to leave Rijkaard shaking his head in despair.

For Betis, it was three vital points as they moved six points clear of the relegation zone.

Villarreal go second

Meanwhile, Villarreal collected their 24th point from a possible 33 in 2008 and are now just three points behind Real after their 3-0 thrashing of fourth-placed Atletico.

A mistake by Colombian Luis Perea after 38 minutes allowed Santiago Cazorla to open the scoring and four minutes later Nihat bagged another.

"I heard Barcelona lost so we are second which is great," said Nihat.

"There is a long way to go and we will just see what happens. We have Sevilla in our next match and that will be tough."

Nihat scored again for his 14th goal of the campaign as Villarreal ensured an unhappy return for Diego Forlan who spent three years at the club before joining Atletico for $33 million in the summer.

Atletico will now hope neighbours Real can do them a favour by beating Champions League rivals Sevilla, five points behind in sixth, on Sunday.

Source:
Agencies
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