Evening all! Our Copa del Rey
coverage continues as Betis welcome Atletico to Seville in the second leg of the quarter-final. Atletico currently hold a 2-0 advantage from the first leg following a comfortable home win last week, but Betis’ displays this season will give them confidence as they bid to reach the final four of the competition.
In terms of the recent meetings, Atletico have won their last two matches against Betis, the first leg last week and the league clash at Betis earlier in the season. In fact, Atletico are unbeaten on their last three visits to Betis. They will advance this evening with any draw, or a narrow defeat.
Let’s take a look at how both sides have fared in the league this season. Betis currently occupy fourth spot in the table after 20 matches. They sit just five points behind last season’s champions Real Madrid and are in with a real chance of securing a sensational return to European football. However, it has been far from plain sailing on their own patch.
They have won five, drawn one and lost five of their 11 league fixtures at home this season. A total that would have left them mid-table if home form was all that counted. That is in stark contrast to their away form which is the second-best in the division. They have taken 19 points from nine matches away from Seville, a total that is only bettered by Barcelona.
BETIS: Casto; Perquis, Nacho, Lopez, Amaya; Sevilla, Benat, Perez, Vadillo; Castro, Campbell
ATLETICO: Courtois; Miranda, Luis, Godin, Manquillo; Gabi, Suarez, Koke, Turan; Adrian, Costa
So there we have it. The home side name a strong team this evening with Ruben Castro and Joel Campbell the most advanced of the forward players. Alvaro Vadillo also starts in midfield, but Jorge Molina
and Nono take their place on the bench. Meanwhile, Atletico are without Radamel Falcao this evening, allowing Adrian Lopez to pair Diego Costa
in attack. Arda Turan and Mario Suarez also start.
Atletico have also enjoyed a successful season to date. They have taken 47 points from 20 matches, a total that has left them second in the table, eight points behind Barcelona. They also hold a healthy seven-point gap over capital rivals Real Madrid, who sit in third position. However, their form on the road has not been as impressive as in Madrid.
On their own patch they have won all 11 of their league fixtures, scoring 32 in the process and conceding just six times. Their away record is slightly less impressive with four wins, two draws and three defeats from nine matches. However, with the second-best defensive record in Spain this season, it is difficult to see Betis overturning this tie.
A quick note on last night’s match between Valencia and Real Madrid. Both teams enter the match in exactly the same situation this evening with Atletico leading 2-0 from the first leg. The power of the away goal was demonstrated by Real as they scored in the first period to take a 3-0 lead in the tie, with Valencia then needing to score four without reply. It would probably be fair to state that Betis need to score first this evening to stand a chance of progressing.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Just about time for my pre-match prediction. It would not surprise me to see Betis win this evening, but I just cannot see them overturning a 2-0 lead. Atletico to advance for me.
Tonight's referee is Carlos Clos. Let's hope that we are discussing the football and not the officials come the end of the evening. It would also be nice to keep all 22 players on the pitch, with four red cards in the two cup matches last night. Here we go then. The home side get the action underway on this mild evening in Seville.
Atletico are unbeaten in their last six matches, conceding just one goal in the process. They have made a bright start here as Gabi forces a free kick just outside the penalty area. The resulting set piece is taken by the Spaniard, but he can only fire his effort straight into the wall. Betis advance down the other end moments later in a lively opening.
Just a reminder of how things stand this evening. Any Atletico victory will see them advance, as will any draw. They could also lose 3-1, 4-2, 5-3 and so on, because of the away goals rule. The only way we will have extra-time is if Betis win 2-0. It has been Atletico that have made the better in the very early stages of this match.
It's good work from Turan as the Turkish midfielder collects possession before driving into the Betis box, but Nacho is across to make the clearance. It is a big night for Betis striker Ruben Castro this evening, with the Spaniard quoted suggesting that he deserves to be in the national team. He has a chance to prove that this evening. Still no real chances for either side, but Atletico have seen more of the ball.
Still not too much to get excited about from the home side with Benat, Ruben Perez and Salva Sevilla struggling to gain control of the midfield. Joel Campbell does offer a threat as the on-loan Arsenal attacker collects possession before delivering a cross into the box, but Sevilla's effort is deflected behind for a corner.
Atletico create a half-chance as Adrian shows his electric pace by collecting a pass from Gabi before firing a low cross into the box, but Angel Lopez is across to clear the danger. The pressure continues as Koke bobs and weaves outside the box, but eventually Betis manage to gather hold of the ball. Still no clear chances for either side with 10 minutes on the clock.
Special praise must be given to Betis boss Pepe Mel for what he has achieved this season. The Spaniard has had to work on an extremely low budget, but he has guided his team to fourth spot in the league. But in truth, they look second best this evening with Atletico taking control of the midfield battle. Campbell threatens on the break for the home side, but the subsequent free kick comes to nothing.
Adrian has made a lively start to this match as he once more demonstrates his pace by chasing down a long ball before turning and striking an effort towards goal, but it is just deflected wide at the vital moment. A quick note on the Spaniard, he has been linked with a host of clubs this January, but he was revealed a desire to remain at the capital outfit.
This time it's Costa for Atletico as the Brazilian striker advances down the left before finding Koke on the edge of the box, but the Spaniard is closed down at the vital moment. Turan collects moments later, but he loses possession before fouling Nacho in an attempt to regain the ball. Slightly scrappy period of the match at the moment.
It is not a full house inside the stadium this evening, but the home supporters are doing their best to raise the volume. It is so important that the home side score first in order to keep the crowd. It's Atletico that create another half-chance, however, as Costa is felled by Perquis outside the box. The resulting free kick is taken by Koke, but he fires over the crossbar.
Betis have just started to enjoy their best spell of possession with their midfield players taking charge of the ball. However, we have not seen too much from Castro and Campbell thus far. Another half-chance comes to Adrian as the striker speeds into the box, but a fine challenge from Amaya clears the danger at the vital moment.
Half-chance for the home side down the other end as Castro finds Campbell in the box, the attacker drops his shoulder before striking an effort towards goal, but Miranda is on hand to make a fine block. That will give Betis confidence as the first period begins to gather pace. Still 0-0 here with 22 minutes on the clock.
Slightly untidy period of the match at the moment as the challenges continue to fly in from both sides. Ruben Perez is the latest player to have his name taken as the midfielder dives into a tackle with Suarez. The non-stop tempo will not worry Atletico too much, however, with their 2-0 lead from the first leg still very much intact.
Again it's bright work from Vadillo as the Betis winger evades two challenges before driving into the box, but Godin just quells the danger at the vital moment. The resulting corner causes all sorts of problems in the Atletico box, but Adrian just manages to clear under severe pressure from Castro.
Another half-chance for the home side as Amaya wins a header in the box, it drops to Castro in a wide position, but Courtois is out to make a diving save. That is just about as close as they have come in this match thus far. Little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining.
The pressure continues from the home side as Benat whips a dangerous cross into the penalty area, but this time Miranda is on hand to clear the danger. First sign of frustration from Diego Simeone as the Argentine comes out to issue instructions to his team. Meanwhile, slight handbags between Costa and Nacho in a melee.
Not too much to get excited about at the moment with neither side creating any real chances in the final third. Betis have certainly gathered control of the possession in the last five or 10 minutes, but they have not really threatened to open the scoring. Meanwhile, Adrian's pace remains Atletico's biggest threat down the other end.
Neither side is taken too much care in possession at the moment with short spells of passing interrupted by a loose pass. Meanwhile, a host of fouls have once more interrupted the flow of the match. This is going just as Atletico would have hoped. One goal either way completely turns this tie on its head.
Penalty shout for the home side as Sevilla takes a tumble in the penalty area under a challenge from Turan, but the referee rightly shakes his head with play continuing. The calls came more from the crowd than the players. Atletico just look incredibly well-marshalled in defence at the moment. Little under 10 minutes of the first period remaining.
Another half-chance comes to Castro as the Spanish striker rises in the penalty area to meet a cross from Vadillo, but his header is just wide of the post. Atletico continue to sit in and absorb the danger. You get the feeling that they would be happy to take a 0-0 and move on as quickly as possible. The onus is on Betis to score twice.
Right, little over five minutes of the first period to play and the score remains 0-0 on the evening. Just a reminder of what Betis need to do this evening. In order to take things into extra-time they need to score twice without replay, but any win to nil from 3-0 would see them advance. An away goal for Atletico would mean that they need to score four times without replay.
Just a few signs that the Betis supporters are starting to turn on their team as another pass fails to reach the desired target. The supporters now expect this team to win the majority of their football matches, that is the situation that Pepe Mel has created because of his incredible success this season.
Another half-chance arrives for the home side as Perquis meets a Benat cross in the box, but the defender can only head wide of the target. The frustration can be felt inside the ground, but this tie is far from over. Adrian comes close with an effort down the other end, but he can only fire straight at Castro.
GOAL! Real Betis 0-1 Atletico Madrid (Costa)
It is an absolute horror show from the Betis goalkeeper as he comes to collect a header from Nacho, but misses the ball and Costa is on hand to tap into the empty net. That could just about be it for this tie. Betis will need to score four goals without reply in the second period.
HALF-TIME: Real Betis 0-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico lead 3-0 on aggregate)
So there we have it. It was always going to be tough for the home side this evening, but a horror moment in the final stages of the half has made it even harder. Slightly unsavoury scenes at the end of the first period with both sides clashing on the pitch.
In truth, it has not been a match full of too many chances. Atletico dominated possession in the early stages, but Betis grew into the latter part of the first period. However, it cannot be said that either team has created any real opportunities. That goal from Costa simply should not have been allowed to happen.
Let's take a look at both benches this evening. The home side have Jorge Molina and Nono in reserve, while Canas could also enter the field in the second period. Atletico are without Falcao, who is injured, but there are attacking options in the shape of Cristian Rodriguez and Tiago.
Just a reminder to stay with us following the completion of this match for Malaga against Barcelona. We will provide coverage of that from the start with this fixture no longer entering extra-time. From this position, Betis have to score at least four goals to advance. It is exactly the same situation as transpired last night between Real Madrid and Valencia.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. Two changes at the interval for the home side with Molina and Molins replacing Benat and Campbell. It does appear to be mission impossible for Betis, but this is cup football and anything can happen. The home side get the second period underway.
Early free kick for the home side with Sevilla being felled by Gabi outside the penalty area. The midfielder tackles the resulting set piece, but he can only fire his effort straight at the goalkeeper. It simply has to be better than that at this stage of proceedings. But it has been a bright start from Betis.
CHANCE! Glorious opportunity for Atletico to put this game to bed as Turan collects possession in the box before turning and striking an effort at goal, but Casto is on hand to push wide of the post. The resulting corner also causes problems, but the danger is scrambled clear.
The problem facing Betis is the more they open up and attack, the more space that will be left for the away side to thread passes behind with the pace of Adrian and Costa causing all sorts of problems. It would not be a surprise to see a host of goals in this second period, but unfortunately not all for Betis.
Again Betis attack with Vadillo carrying possession down the right, but his low cross into the box is cleared by Luis. There is just no way through this incredible Atletico defence as things stand. There is a reason why they have the second-best defence in Spain's top division.
Rare Atletico attack in the second period as Adrian collects possession before driving into the penalty area, but Nacho is across to clear the danger. Meanwhile, the away side make their first change of the evening as Gabi, who is on a yellow card, is replaced by the experienced Turkish midfielder Emre.
Another half-chance comes to the away side as Adrian threads a pass towards Turan, but it just has too much pace and Casto is out to clear the danger. Betis desperately attempt to craft something down the other end, but it breaks down, as has been the case all evening. It just hasn't happened for Betis in this match.
Vadillo remains the most likely for the home side as the Spaniard darts past two challenges before whipping a high cross into the box, but once more Courtois is out to collect. It is scary how similar this tie is to the Madrid match last night. It has followed the same pattern entirely. It must be something about the Spanish capital.
I think this evening does show the difference in quality between the top three and the rest of the division. Atletico are missing Falcao this evening, but they have been comfortable in dealing with the Betis threat. Another breakaway comes with Adrian, but his final pass is poor and Casto collects.
Decent work from Vadillo once more as the Betis midfielder picks up possession before striking a powerful effort on goal, but it was always moving past the far post. There is simply no atmosphere inside the stadium at the moment. It is almost as if everyone here accepts that this match as a contest is over.
Meanwhile, Atletico make their second change of the evening as Costa is replaced by Rodriguez. It has been another fine performance from the Brazilian striker, who has improved as a player this season. Little under 25 minutes of football remaining and Atletico lead 1-0 on the night and 3-0 in the tie.
Not too much to get excited about at the moment with neither team offering any real attacking threat. Betis continue to enjoy most of the possession, but each attack either ends with a poor pass or a cross into the hands of Courtois. However, in fairness their attitude has been good.
Decent pressure from Betis as Vadillo wins another corner, but Miranda rises once more to head clear. How good has he been this evening? Koke attacks down the other end before finding Turan, but it breaks down. Meanwhile, it appears that both teams are readying their final changes of the night.
The changes are indeed made as Castro is replaced by Nono for Betis. Atletico also play their final card as Raul Garcia replaces Turan. The home side force an opportunity moments later as Miranda fells Molina outside the box, but Sevilla's effort is just wide of the post.
The resulting corner causes some problems in the Atletico defence as Perez wins the flick-on, but once more the ever-impressive Courtois comes out to collect the high ball. Chelsea have some replacement for Petr Cech, but it is understood that Barcelona are preparing a bid for the Belgian stopper. Little over 15 minutes of football remaining and the score stays at 1-0.
It is almost like a training match at the moment with Betis attempting to break down this stern Atletico defence, but each time they get within shooting distance, the danger is cleared. It has not been much of a spectacle in this second period. Not that Atletico will mind as they prepare for the next round.
The possession football continues for Betis as they pass and probe outside the penalty area, but it goes no further with the home side still unable to create any real opportunity. A reminder to stay with us this evening for action from Malaga against Barcelona. You will not want to miss it.
Betis may be heading out of this competition, but they still have much to focus on in the weeks ahead. They currently occupy fourth spot in the league and with a real chance of securing a return to European football. But they will have to improve on this performance in order to fight off the threat from those teams below them.
Again it's Vadillo that causes problems to Atletico as the Spaniard dances into the penalty area, but he just loses control at the vital moment. The home crowd want a penalty, but the referee rightly waves play on. Vadillo has been the star performer for Betis this evening.
In fairness to the home supporters they have remained with their side this evening and they are making their voices heard in the final stages of this match. Another half-chance arrives as Molina drives into the box, but the wonderful Godin is across to clear for a throw. Little over five minutes of normal time remaining.
The home side force a couple of corners in the latter stages as they end the match on the front foot, but the Atletico defence are once more comfortable in dealing with the danger. You can just see Simeone in this Atletico performance. Not pretty, but dogged and effective. He has created a really special team at Atletico.
Good spirit from the home supporters in the final stages as they cheer each pass that their side makes. Not too sure the players appreciate it though.
PENALTY TO BETIS: The home side are awarded a penalty as Godin is ruled to have climbed over the back of Molina. That is a very harsh decision for me. The striker will take the resulting effort.
GOAL! Real Betis 1-1 Atletico Madrid (Molina)
Molina does indeed covert from the spot, but it will have no effect on this tie whatsoever. At least the home supporters have had something to cheer in the final moments. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional two minutes of added time and we are into the first of those.
FULL-TIME: Real Betis 1-1 Atletico Madrid (Atletico advance 3-1 on aggregate)
So there we have it. Atletico book their spot in the semi-final of the Copa del Rey with a 3-1 aggregate win over Real Betis
. In truth, it was never in doubt following Costa's strike in the first period. Thanks for joining Sports Mole
and be sure to remain with us for action from Malaga. Until then!