Barcelona got their 2017/18 La Liga campaign off to the perfect start on Sunday night as they managed to secure a priceless 2-0 win over Real Betis.
The victory was a massive boost following their humiliation in the Spanish Super Cup at the hands of bitter rivals Real Madrid and was hugely poignant for the city itself after the unspeakable tragedy endured last week.
An own goal and a strike from forgotten man Sergi Roberto sealed Ernesto Valverde's first competitive win as Blaugrana boss in what was a very assured display.
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Lionel Messi was up to his usual tricks, hitting the woodwork on three occasions as he sits stuck on 349 La Liga goals - still not a bad haul though.
However, the 30-year-old was not the only Argentine strutting his stuff on the Nou Camp turf as Javier Mascherano delivered a hugely decisive moment just before the half-time whistle.
With a Betis striker baring down on Marc-Andre ter Stegen's goal, the former Liverpool favourite delivered a tackle reminiscent of Bobby Moore to thwart the dangerous attack.
MASCHERANO'S DEFENSIVE MASTERCLASS
What a way to keep the score at 1-0 and, just moments later, the Blaugrana had made it two courtesy of Roberto's effort, so yes, it really was a decisive passage of play.
Barca now have a welcome week off to regroup before a tricky away day at Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.
Valverde will also be made aware of his Champions League group after Thursday's draw, as Barca bid to end the two-year dominance held by Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid.
Los Blancos also got off to the perfect start in La Liga, recording a 3-0 victory away at Deportivo la Coruna.
Gareth Bale, Casemiro and Toni Kroos scored the goals, however, Sergio Ramos was predictably sent off 23 seconds before the end of the match, ironically picking up the 23rd red card of his career.
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