Lionel Messi scored twice on his return from a broken arm but Barcelona conceded four goals and was reduced to 10 men in a 4-3 home defeat to Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Messi also helped set up a goal by substitute Arturo Vidal, but the league leaders were always trailing after Junior Firpo opened the scoring in the 20th minute.
Messi returned to the field at Camp Nou three weeks after he broke a bone in his right forearm during a win over Sevilla. Barcelona won four games and drew one without him.
Barcelona’s second league loss of the season left it one point ahead of Atletico Madrid. Espanyol can pull level on points with Barcelona if it beats Sevilla later Sunday.
Joaquin Sanchez made it 2-0 for Betis before halftime. After Messi pulled one back from the penalty spot, Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen let a shot by Giovani Lo Celso slip through his hands to restore Betis’ two-goal cushion.
Messi briefly rekindled the comeback in the 79th when he threaded a pass forward for substitute Munir El Haddadi, who laid off for Vidal to reduce the deficit to 3-2.
But Barcelona was left with 10 men in the 82nd when Ivan Rakitic earned a second booking for a hard tackle on Lo Celso. A minute later Junior led another attack for Betis from the left flank, passing for substitute Sergio Canales to slide and push his cross home.
Messi scored his second goal in stoppage time.
Source: The Associated Press