Once again the lead in Spain's top flight changed on three occasions on Saturday, with victories for both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid seeing Barcelona enter their match down in third position.
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Despite Barcelona dominating the possession in the early exchanges, it was Betis that had two half-chances inside six minutes.
The first came for Ruben Castro following a quick break, but the Spaniard's goal-bound strike was deflected over by Javier Mascherano, before Bruno Gonzalez tested Claudio Bravo with a header from the resulting corner.
Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique both picked up yellow cards in quick succession during what was a frustrating opening 25 minutes for the champions, who were struggling to find that elusive pass in the final third of the field.
Neymar headed a Dani Alves cross wide of the post in the 26th minute, before the Brazil captain forced Adan into a smart save with a low strike just before the 30-minute mark in Seville.
The match swung in Barcelona's favour 10 minutes before the interval, however, when Betis centre-back Heiko Westermann picked up a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Rakitic, leaving the hosts one man short.
As expected, Barcelona attempted to make use of their numerical advantage with a spell of pressure entering the half-time break, but Betis remained firm at the back and managed to keep the score goalless after 45 tight minutes.
A pass from Neymar handed Suarez the perfect opportunity to send Barcelona ahead early in the second period, but the Uruguay international got it all wrong and screwed his effort wide of the post.
The visitors did make the breakthrough in the 50th minute, though, when Rakitic slotted into an empty net from close range after Adan and German Pezzella had completely missed a chipped pass from Messi.
At that point, it did appear that the new league leaders Barcelona would go full-throttle in search of a second goal, but Betis were the team pressing forward as the match approached its final 20 minutes of action.
Adan had to be alert to take the ball off the head of Suarez in the 72nd minute, before the Betis stopper made a point-blank stop to prevent the striker from sending Barcelona two goals ahead moments later.
Betis threw on Ricky van Wolfswinkel 10 minutes from time, but Barcelona put the game beyond the home side in the 81st minute when Suarez collected a through-pass from Messi before sliding the ball past Adan.
Next up for Barcelona is a home game against local rivals Espanyol next Sunday. Second-placed Atletico will travel to basement side Levante, while Real Madrid will host Valencia on the same afternoon.