Deulofeu stars in Barca win over Betis in shadow of terror attack

BARCELONA: Barcelona got off to a winning start in La Liga on Sunday, beating Real Betis 2-0 in a subdued atmosphere at the Nou Camp in the first game since the deadly attacks in the Catalan capital and the town of Cambrils.

Betis defender Alin Tosca diverted a cross from the lively Gerard Deulofeu into his own net to put Barca ahead in the 36th minute, while the former Everton forward, who returned to his boyhood club this summer, also laid on the pass for the second goal which was smashed in by Sergi Roberto in the 39th.

Lionel Messi was the fulcrum of most of Barca's creativity and more responsibility was placed on his shoulders due to the absence of Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta but the Argentine was denied a goal, hitting the woodwork in each half.

Despite the win there was a subdued feeling at the Nou Camp before and during the game with only 56,480 supporters going to the 99,000-capacity arena. The club announced it had granted fans' requests to return tickets in the wake of Thursday's attacks, which killed 14 people and injured more than 100.

Liga title holders Real Madrid were starting their campaign later on Sunday at Deportivo La Coruna.