Football

Xavi celebrates in style

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Xavi celebrated a landmark 400th league game for Barcelona on Sunday with the opening goal in a 4-2 defeat of Real Betis at the Nou Camp.

The midfield conductor became the first Barca player to reach the milestone, as the Catalan giants closed the gap on La Liga leaders Real Madrid to five points.

Lionel Messi scored his 18th and 19th league goals of the season either side of a strike from Alexis Sanchez, while Mario Alvarez saw red for a spirited Betis.

And Xavi was relieved to end the encounter with all three points as the game looked to be edging towards a draw.

"We managed to get through a very tough game," the 31-year-old told Spanish television after the game

"Betis also want the ball and they played well and made things pretty difficult for us.

"Their players have a lot of technical ability and that's why it was an open game with chances for both sides."

Meanwhile, Barca meet Real Madrid on Wednesday in the second Classico of the season, as the two sides contest the quarter-final of the Copa del Rey.

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