Betis does its homework in Europe before the derby

Less than three days before the first Seville derby of the season, Betis had one of those cumbersome but necessary commitments in Villamarín to live exciting European nights later. It was about securing the three points against the modest Cypriot Aris de Limassol and with them getting the qualification for the knockout phase of the Europa League on track before facing the most anticipated duel in the city of Seville.

With the visit to the Comanche territory of Pizjuán just around the corner, this rising Betis intended to complete the file with less trouble than what happened in Cyprus two weeks before. He achieved it in general terms, because although there were even stretches of the match of foreign dominance, the goals from Borja Iglesias, Aitor Ruibal and Marc Roca allowed for a calm outcome in which Kokorin reduced the gap and Abde made it 4-1.

Manuel Pellegrini’s team faced the duel with more speed, recovering quickly and threatening with the speed of Luiz Henrique and Abde on the sides. The Brazilian and the Moroccan had Betis’ first chances, with Rodri as the preferred partner from the start.


Bravo, Ruibal, Pezzella (Enrique, min. 85), Roca, Abner, William Carvalho, Guardado (Guido Rodríguez, min. 59), Luiz Henrique (Fekir, min. 75), Rodri (Isco, min. 59), Abde and Borja Iglesias (Ayoze, min. 59).



Aris de Limassol

Vana Alves, Yago, Brorsson (Moussounda, min. 46), Urosevic, Caju, Szoke, Struski (Kokorin, min. 76), Mayambela (Brown, min. 76), Gomis, Montnor (Bengtsson, min. 46) y Babicka (Stepinski, min. 82).

  • Goals:
    1-0: min. 34, Borja Iglesias. 2-0: min. 64, Ruibal. 3-0: min. 79, Roca. 3-1: min. 85, Kokorin. 4-1: min. 94, Abde .

  • Referee:
    Mohammed Al-Hakim (Sweden). He cautioned Struski and Guido Rodríguez.

  • Incidences:
    Matchday 4 in group C of the Europa League played at the Benito Villamarín.

However, the Betic bet was risky, with the defense many meters in front of the goal defended by Claudio Bravo. For this reason, it was essential to avoid losses and get things right early to reduce the joy of the Cypriot team, which seriously threatened the counterattack with Montnor’s goal disallowed for offside.

Responded was Aris Limasol, surprising champion of Cyprus last season, capable of defeating Rangers and also a serious nuisance for Betis in the first leg. The Cypriot resistance dried up the high initial pace of play of the team led by Pellegrini, who followed the duel from the wing with some concern. The green and white offensive had completely gone down when a good foray by Abner down the left side led to the Brazilian assisting Borja Iglesias’ scoring debut this season.

The injection of confidence gave Betis the extra energy to dominate their rival although the Panda was not as good as in the goal after a dangerous loss of the ball by Aris. Despite constantly hovering around the opponent’s area, the Betic team lacked a greater dose of success to put a foothold before the break.

The break did not sit well with the Sevillian team, who returned from the locker room with a goal against the recently introduced Bengtsson disallowed by a very tight offside. It was a serious warning of the redoubled spirit of Aris de Limasol, to which the changes gave another speed. The Cypriot champion pressed, without complexes, and Betis had to use their defense and hold their breath before another good chance from Babicka.

Headlines on the grass

There was no trace of the ball control that the duel demanded for Betis, so Pellegrini shook the tree with three starters: Guido Rodríguez, Isco and Ayoze. The Chilean’s total commitment to the Europa League, with a very recognizable backbone to sustain the partial victory in the final half hour. The formula gave an immediate result, as the Andalusian team grabbed the ball and Ruibal found the green and white calm with some collaboration from goalkeeper Vana Alves.

With the dispute already going downhill, Isco used his devilish quality to provoke a delayed penalty, since only after reviewing what happened on the VAR monitor was the Swede Al-Hakim aware of the infraction. The man from Malaga surrendered to Villamarín because of his talent and especially because of his generosity to give the shot to the recently introduced Fekir, who returned last weekend in the League against Mallorca with just a few minutes. The Franco-Algerian, without competition rhythm, missed from eleven meters but redeemed himself instantly with the assist for the 3-0, work of Marc Roca.

With the commitment already resolved, Betis began to think about the expected derby on Sunday and that allowed the Cypriot team to close the gap with Kokorin’s goal and even threatened to spice up the match in a one-on-one between Gomis and Bravo that the green-and-white goalkeeper resolved to avoid last minute rush. Precisely the Chilean’s physical problems were the bitter side of an epilogue that sweetened Abde’s goal.

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