Sep 1, 2013 at 4pm UK at ​Estadi Cornellà-El Prat
Espanyol
0-0
Real Betis

Stuani (57'), Gonzalez (90')
FT

Torres (65'), Amaya (76'), Verdu (80'), Mati (84')

Live Commentary: Espanyol 0-0 Real Betis - as it happened

Real Betis' Antonio Amaya in action on January 24, 2013
© AFP
Relive Sports Mole's commentary of the La Liga clash at the Estadi Cornella-El Prat between Espanyol and Real Betis.

Espanyol welcomed Real Betis to the Estadi Cornella-El Prat on Sunday looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season.

Neither side created too much of note in the first period, with the two teams entering the interval level on terms.

The second half was not much of an improvement, however, with the pair forced to share the points following an uneventful 90 minutes of football.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action blow.


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3.31pmAfternoon all! The first of three back-to-back live commentaries in La Liga comes from the El Prat as Espanyol welcome Betis. As mentioned, the home side have taken four points from their first two matches of the season, but European hopefuls Real Betis are yet to get off the mark following defeats to Real Madrid and Celta Vigo.

3.34pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Espanyol have won three of the last five to Betis’ one, with the other ending in a draw. Espanyol were 1-0 winners in the corresponding match last season, but Betis were victorious by the same scoreline on their own patch. Recent statistics suggest that we will have a close encounter this afternoon.

3.37pmIt did appear that Espanyol were heading for defeat on the opening weekend of the season against Celta Vigo, but they managed to recover from 2-0 down to secure a share of the spoils. They had no such problems last weekend, however, as they recovered an impressive 3-1 win over Valencia, who finished fifth in the table last season.

3.40pmEspanyol struggled in the early stages of last season, but since Javier Aguirre took charge, you just don’t get the feeling that they will be anywhere near the relegation zone this time around. If they can pick up a couple of positive results on the road, a top-half finish would not be out of the question. Betis will be up against it this afternoon there is no question about that.

3.43pmAfter such an impressive campaign last term, Betis had been expected to push on in the new season. They were beaten on the opening weekend of the season by Real Madrid, but the capital outfit needed a late Isco header to claim all three points. They were involved in the shock of the weekend last time out, however, as Celta Vigo claimed all three points in Seville.

3.46pmIt has been a good week for Betis in Europe, however, with the Spanish outfit ensuring their spot in the group stages of the Europa League with an impressive 6-0 win over Jablonec. Jorge Molina and Ruben Castro were both among the goals on Thursday and the pair will be hopeful of carrying that form into the league campaign.

3.49pmIt is not a surprise that they did not draw many games last season (eight) due to their attacking style, but it did cost them points from positions where they should have been home and dry. Pepe Mel is an experienced boss, however, and will surely turn things around. A positive result this afternoon would certainly raise morale around the camp.

3.52pmTEAMS:

ESPANYOL XI: Casilla; Colotto, Moreno, Fuentes, Lopez; Simao, Victor Sanchez, David Lopez, Garcia; Stuani, Pizzi

BETIS XI: Sara; Nacho, Chica, Amaya, Figueras; Verdu, Torres, Igiebor, Mabwati; Carlos, Molina


3.55pmSo there we have it. No real surprises in the Espanyol XI this afternoon with Pizzi, Christian Stuani and Sergio Garcia all continuing in the final third. Betis boss Pepe Mel, meanwhile, contjnues with Jorge Molina in attack, but Salva Sevilla drops to the bench. Plenty of attacking talent on display this afternoon.

3.58pmBoth sets of players are emerging onto the pitch ahead of kickoff. Following the completion of the pre-match handshakes we will be ready to get the action underway. Just about time for my pre-match prediction. Betis were impressive on the road last season, but I expect Espanyol to pick up all three points from this one.

0 minJust a reminder that following this match we have action from Sociedad as the home side welcome Atletico Madrid, before Barcelona travel to Valencia in the late start. Can Espanyol make it seven points from nine? Or will Betis get off the mark for the new season? The away side get the action underway at the El Prat.

2 minBright start to proceedings from the home side as Victor Sanchez gathers possession in the middle of the park before attempting to feed the run of Garcia, but the Spaniard cannot gather under pressure from Javi Chica. Stuani is involved moments later, but he loses possession before chopping down Nacho.

4 minEspanyol continue to force the issue in the early stages with two free kicks in quick succession. However, the first is headed over the crossbar by Stuani, before Garcia turns his low effort into the arms of Sara. Not too much from Betis as an attacking threat in the opening four minutes, however, with the home side squeezing in midfield.

6 minFirst opportunity for Betis to force the issue inside the Espanyol half as Igiebor drives into the opposing box before finding Xavi Torres, but the Spaniard's effort is neither here nor there as it drops into the arms of the goalkeeper. Bright six minutes of football at the El Prat, but it remains goalless.

8 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last few moments with both sides guilty of losing possession in the middle of midfield. Espanyol continue to look the most likely, however, as they force another free kick and two corners in quick succession. It must be said that the supporters are in fine voice this afternoon.

10 minMuch of Betis' success last season was down to their form on the road. They were unlucky on the opening weekend against Real Madrid, but if they can produce a similar performance here then they will fancy themselves to pick up the points. The home side continue to dominate, however, in what has been a high-tempo opening 10 minutes of football.

13 minHalf-chance for Colotto as the Argentine meets a bouncing ball outside the box, but he can only loop his header high and wide of the crossbar. The home side continue to force the issue with Stuani providing a presence in the box, but Betis have been solid in defence thus far. Still no real chances for either side with 13 minutes on the clock at the El Prat.

15 minIt's good work from Igiebor as the Betis midfielder picks the pocket of Lopez before finding Mabwati down the left, but the midfielder's low cross is collected by Casilla. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if we indeed have one - could be crucial in this type of match. Betis have just started to find their feet in the last few moments.

17 minMuch better from Betis in the last few moments with the likes of Molina and Juan Carlos starting to see more of the ball in the final third. However, despite a couple of corners, they have been unable to really test the home side. They are forced into an early change moments later as Nacho is replaced by Juanfran.

19 minCHANCE! The best chance of the match comes to the home side as Stuani meets a cross from Simao, but somehow he plants his header wide of the post when it looked easier to score. What an incredible opportunity. Betis attack down the other end with Mabwati, but the winger runs out of room at the vital moment.

22 minMolina continues to look the most likely for the away side as he collects possession outside the box before attempting to curl an effort towards the top corner, but it was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. Espanyol are just struggling to keep hold of the ball at the moment, which is certainly inviting the team in the green and black shirts.

25 minHardly time to take a breath at the moment with both sides prepared to commit players to each attack. Espanyol come close to forcing the issue with another cross from Pizzi, but Stuani's header is wide of the target. Down the other end Verdu wants a penalty, but the referee is not interested.

27 minHalf-chance for Garcia as the Espanyol striker collects a cross from Simao before turning in the box, but he loses control at the vital moment, allowing Sara out to claim. The Betis goalkeeper attempts to launch a quick counter with Mabwati, but the winger is too quick for his own teammates and is therefore left isolated.

30 minNot too much to report in the last couple of moments with neither side creating too much in the final third. Meanwhile, the referee has been called into action to deal with a number of late challenges. It is the type of match that is in desperate need of a goal with little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining.

32 minReal stop-start period of the match in the last few moments with both sides guilty of giving away a number of free kicks outside the opposing box. The latest allows Verdu the opportunity to whip a cross into the box, but he instead plays it short, which breaks down with Torres. It might take a free kick to open this one up.

35 minLittle over 10 minutes of the first period remaining and in truth, not a lot is happening. Espanyol started the stronger, before Betis started to come back into the game. Neither side has really taken control since that point, however, with the tempo not being helped by constant stoppages. We really need a goal at the El Prat.

37 minWe have been treated to some cracking matches in La Liga this weekend, but this has not been one of them. Not yet, anyway. Good possession for Betis in the last few moments with Xavi Torres starting to see more of the ball in the final third, but there is no real quality on the final ball with around eight minutes of the half remaining.

39 minCHANCE! Opportunity for Pizzi to open the scoring as he collects a pass from Simao before attempting to plant a low effort into the bottom corner, but Chiva is on hand to make the block. The resulting corner is delivered onto the head of Moreno, but his effort is high and wide of the target.

42 minPizzi is again the danger for the home side as Garcia collects possession in midfield before attempting to find the Portuguese, but he cannot collect under pressure from Amaya. The tempo has just started to rise in the last few moments, but it has come at the wrong time with the interval fast approaching at the El Prat.

44 minThe stadium is not full this afternoon - far from it - but the home supporters have created a good atmosphere thus far. Three points in this one would move Espanyol onto seven points for the season, while Betis would be yet to record a point. Little over one minute of normal time remaining in what has been a goalless half of football thus far.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Espanyol 0-0 Betis

4.47pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. We have been treated to some enthralling games in La Liga so far this season, but this has not been one of them there is no question about that. Espanyol have just about shaded it, but neither side has looked like opening the scoring thus far.

4.52pmBENCH WATCH: The home side have a couple of attacking options on the bench in the shape of Bifouma and Abraham, who have both impressed off the bench in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Betis have the likes of Alvaro Vadillo, Reyes and Salva Sevilla in reserve. I suspect we will see changes as the second period advances.

4.57pmSTATISTICS: Betis have just shaded the possession with 53%, but both sides have had three attempts, with one on target apiece. It has not been a particularly dirty game with no yellow cards, but a number of cheap free kicks have been conceded in the opening 45 minutes.

46 minHere we go then. Both sides join us on the pitch for the second period. No changes for either side at the interval, but I suspect that will change if the score remains the same with around 65 minutes on the clock. Just a reminder that following this match we have action from Sociedad against Atletico. Espanyol get the second period underway.

48 minYou just get the feeling that one goal could be enough to pick up all the points this afternoon. Neither side has looked particularly dangerous in attack thus far there is no question about that. It's powerful work from Garcia moments later as he bursts past two defenders, but Chica manages to clear at the vital moment.

50 minBetis are forced to look to their bench for the second time in this match as Juan Carlos is replaced by Javier Matilla. It has not been confirmed, but it does look to be another injury. That is not good news for the away side. Not too much to report in the opening five minutes of the second period, but there is plenty of time for that to change.

53 minMabwati is again involved for the away side as he collects possession down the right before driving into the Espanyol box, but his cross is straight into the arms of Casilla, who has been comfortable thus far. Garcia leads a counter down the other end, but again Pizzi moves into an offside position. Frustration for the home supporters.

55 minOn the face of it, a point would not be the worst result for either of these two sides, but much of Betis' success last season came on the road. If they cannot repeat that form this time around then it is difficult to imagine them pushing for the top four. Still both sides are struggling for inspiration with 55 minutes on the clock at the El Prat.

58 minOh my good grief, that just about sums up the second period as both sides hand possession away twice in the space of 30 seconds. They are better than what we have seen thus far. I suspect that we will see Espanyol look to their bench in the next five minutes or so. Betis, however, have already made two changes with Nacho and Juan Carlos forced off with injuries.

60 minGarcia does look the player most likely to make something happen as he collects possession outside the Espanyol box before pumping a long cross towards Stuani, but his header was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. Betis attempt to break with the pace of Mabwati, but he is chopped down by Stuani, who collects a yellow card. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining.

62 minEspanyol do indeed look to their bench as Pizzi is replaced by Bifouma, who scored against Valencia last time out. The French attacker will certainly provide a spark in the final third. The match is in desperate need of something to happen. I think it would be fair to assume that one goal would be enough to win it.

65 minThe home supporters are in fine voice as we approach the final 25 minutes of football in this La Liga encounter. Espanyol have started to force the issue in the last couple of moments with a couple of corners in quick succession, but Betis have been strong in defence thus far. It is times like this when someone can go and make themselves a hero.

67 minNot much of a flow to the match in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of losing possession in the final third. Betis have started to cause a couple of problems with a succession of corners, but Torres and Molina have both headed over the crossbar from close range. Still goalless with little over 20 minutes of football remaining.

70 minHalf-chance for the home side this time as Garcia strikes an effort from just outside the box, but Sara is down to make the save. Betis attack down the other end with Molina, but the Spaniard just does not have the pace to take him beyond the defence. Slightly better purpose about the last few moments.

72 minThe home side look to their bench for the second time as Simao leaves the field for Lanzarote, who has around 18 minutes of normal time to impress. He almost makes an immediate impact with a through pass towards Stuani, but again pace is the problem as Sara is out to clear. There are plenty of tired legs out there this evening there is no question about that.

75 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for the home side as Bifouma advances into the Betis box, but he cannot find a way past the opposing goalkeeper. Betis make their third and final change moments later as Rodriguez enters the field for Molina. Little over 15 minutes of normal time remaining at the El Prat.

77 minI think it would be fair to say that one goal would be enough to pick up all the points this evening. That said, it would be harsh on the loser if that is the case. Neither side has done enough to pick up all the points. Stuani remains the target for Espanyol with each long pass, but the Argentine has lost more aerial battles than he has won in the 77 minutes to date.

80 minSomeone do something please! It is almost as if both sides have settled for a point as Espanyol leisurely keep possession in their own half, before Betis enjoy a similar period with the ball moments later. Meanwhile, the constant challenges from both sides continue to force the referee into action. That has been the story of the match thus far. However, there is still time remaining for something positive to happen.

82 minPenalty shout for the away side as Rodriguez appears to beat Castilla to the ball inside the penalty area, but the referee is not interested. It certainly falls into the category of 'seen them given'. Chica is in trouble moments later as he is caught in a challenge by Moreno, with the stretcher entering the field.

85 minChica does return to the field following a period of treatment. Right, little over five minutes of football remaining for someone to make something happen. At the moment, Betis look the most likely as they continue to force the issue down each wing, but the quality of the final ball continues to disappoint.

87 minEspanyol look to their bench once more as Abraham enters the field to place Victor Sanchez, who has just tired in the last few moments. Just a reminder that following this match we have action from Real Sociedad against Atletico Madrid. I have a feeling that you will not want to miss it.

90 minSlight stoppage in play as Mabwati receives a period of treatment following a head injury, but he is deemed fit to continue. Garcia attempts to lead a counter for the home side moments later, but again his final pass is straight into the arms of Sara. I shouldn't think we will have too much time added at the end of the 90 minutes.

90+2 minThe fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes and we are indeed into the second of those. It is a case of anywhere will do for Betis at the moment as they continue to clear the ball at each opportunity. Little over one minute of time remaining at the El Prat.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Espanyol 0-0 Betis

5.50pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the match to a close with the two sides sharing the points in a goalless draw. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to remain with us for Sociedad against Atletico. Until then!

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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Sociedad11003213
2Leganes11001013
3Valencia11001013
4Atletico MadridAtletico10102201
5GironaGirona10102201
6Espanyol10101101
7Sevilla10101101
8Athletic Bilbao00000000
9Barcelona00000000
10Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo00000000
11EibarEibar00000000
12Getafe00000000
13Levante00000000
14Malaga00000000
15Real Betis00000000
16Real Madrid00000000
17Villarreal00000000
18Celta Vigo100123-10
19AlavesAlaves100101-10
20Las PalmasLas Palmas100101-10
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