Salem Radio Network News Monday, January 24, 2022

Sports

Soccer-Xavi suffers first loss as Barca manager after Juanmi stunner for Betis

BARCELONA, Spain (Reuters) – Barcelona were stunned by Juanmi’s late goal for Real Betis that secured a 1-0 win in LaLiga on Saturday and ended home coach Xavi Hernandez’s honeymoon at the club as he suffered his first defeat since coming back to the Camp Nou three weeks ago.

It was Betis’ first win at Barca in more than three years and took them up to third place with 30 points, six points behind leaders Real Madrid who play later on Saturday at Real Sociedad. Barcelona are languishing in seventh on 23 points.

With Barca’s decisive Champions League match away to Bayern Munich coming up on Wednesday, Xavi rested three of his most important players – Gerard Pique, Frenkie de Jong and Ousmane Dembele – but the decision backfired.

Betis were dangerous on the counter-attack and Juanmi, who earlier had a goal disallowed by VAR for a close offside call, struck a clean finish past keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen after fine build-up play by Sergio Canales and this one did count.

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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