The La Liga matchup between Barcelona and Real Betis at the Camp Nou this evening saw Blaugrana defender Javier Mascherano produce a stunning, goal-saving tackle, just moments before Sergi Roberto put his side 2-0 up.
Barca headed into proceedings this evening without the recently-departed Neymar and sidelined Luis Suarez, leaving a hitherto unseen front three of Lionel Messi, Paco Alcacer and Gerard Deulofeu to lead the line for the home side.
However, despite the trio’s inexperience of playing together, Ernesto Valverde’s side looked dangerous from the off.
A stern defensive showing from Betis was eventually broken in the 36th minute, though, when Gerard Deulofeu’s low cross received the slightest of touches from defender Alin Tosca, leaving Antonio Adan with no chance in the away side’s goal.
Just two minutes later, Betis were presented with a clear-cut opportunity to equalise, when Sergio Leon was sent through for a one-on-one opportunity (or so it looked) with Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
The striker looked set to leave the trailing Javier Mascherano in his wake, but the experienced Argentinian had other ideas.
Proving that there may be life left in his aging legs yet, Mascherano somehow managed to catch up with Leon, before executing the most brilliant of slide tackles to take the ball off the toe of the Spanish attacker:
Barcelona immediately took the ball down the other end to make it 2-0, making the former Liverpool star’s challenge all the more crucial.