MX23RW : Saturday, July 21 08:13:22
Nov 22, 2015 at 7.30pm UK at ​Estadio Benito Villamarin
Real Betis
AtleticoAtletico Madrid

Bruno (53')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Koke (7')
Luis (9'), Tiago (27'), Gamez (38'), Gabi (77')

Match Analysis: Real Betis 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action as Atletico Madrid moved into second position in La Liga with a 1-0 win at Real Betis.

Koke scored the only goal of the match as Atletico Madrid recorded a 1-0 win at Real Betis in La Liga on Sunday.

The result has moved Atletico into second position in the table, two points above their rivals Real Madrid. Betis, meanwhile, remain 12th in the division on 15 points, five outside of the relegation zone.

Betis improved in the second period after struggling in the first, but could not breach Jan Oblak's goal, with Alvaro Cejudo coming closest for the home team after the interval.

Here, Sports Mole has dissected the 90 minutes of action between the two teams.

Match statistics

Shots: 6
On target: 3
Possession: 43%
Corners: 2
Fouls: 12

Shots: 11
On target: 4
Possession: 57%
Corners: 6
Fouls: 8

Was the result fair?

Betis must be given credit for their response in the second period after really struggling to get going in the first 45 minutes, but it is difficult to say that the hosts really deserved to take something from the match. In many ways, it was a vintage performance from Atletico, who opened the scoring in the seventh minute, before remaining rock solid at the back. The statistics show that Atletico only actually had one more attempt on target than the home team, but Oblak was not really troubled in the away side's goal other than a stinging strike from Cejudo, which the stopper pushed over the crossbar.

Atletico, on the other hand, should have been awarded a penalty late on and also hit the post through Antoine Griezmann during a period where Betis were committing numbers forward. Yannick Ferreira Carrasco also came close for Diego Simeone's side in the first half and when taking everything into account, Atletico deserved to record all the points in Seville. For Betis, there were plenty of positives for head coach Pepe Mel, but they just did not carry enough of a threat in the final third.

Real Betis' performance

Seven of Betis' 11 league goals this season have come from their legendary striker Ruben Castro, but Mel did select both Joaquin and Cejudo in support of the 34-year-old tonight. The home side's gameplan would have been to sit deep and hope to threaten on the counter, but that tactic relied on Atletico not scoring early, which proved the case. The goal came from a mistake from Xavi Torres, who was caught in possession just outside his own box. Both Koke and Carrasco were quickly on the case and it was the former that converted after Fernando Torres's strike had been saved by Antonio Adan.

The hosts only had one attempt on target in the first period and that was a fairly tame strike from Didier Digard. There was no shortage of work-rate or desire, but Betis just could not get their attacking players into the match, with Joaquin isolated in a wide position and Castro only having scraps to feed on against a strong Atletico backline. Alfred N'Diaye's presence in the middle of the park proved key in Betis' second-half improvement, but again chances were scarce, with Cejudo's long-range strike on the hour just about the closest that the home side came to scoring all night, which is an indication of their struggles.

Betis were extremely fortunate not to concede a penalty in the 74th minute when German centre-back Heiko Westermann brought Griezmann to the ground, while they also had to rely on the post to keep out a low effort from Griezmann late on. As expected, the game opened up when the hosts pressed forward late on, but they did not really create an awful lot and on another night, Atletico would have put the game to bed with their chances on the counter. How Betis fare this season is not going to depend on their results against the likes of Atletico, but they can take some positives from the defeat as they attempt to move forward.

Atletico's performance

There were two main absentees from the Atletico XI in Seville, with Juanfran and Jackson Martinez both missing out through injury. Jesus Gamez and Torres were therefore given starts, while Stefan Savic was preferred to Jose Gimenez at the heart of the defence. Simeone would have sent his team out full of confidence and it took just seven minutes for the visitors to make the all-important breakthrough, with their tenacity bringing a chance for Koke, who had the simple task of firing home from inside the box. It was the perfect start and Atletico simply managed the game from that point.

The visitors had a wonderful chance to make it 2-0 in the 24th minute when Filipe Luis drove down the left before setting up Torres, who flicked the ball into the path of Griezmann, but the Frenchman's volleyed effort was over the crossbar. Carrasco also came close in the latter stages of the first period, but 1-0 was just about the right result at the break. Diego Godin and Savic were comfortable at the back, while Tiago, Gabi and Koke were enjoying themselves in midfield. There was not too much free-flowing football in the opening 45 minutes, but it was an organised and strong performance from the capital side.

Atletico would have expected a Betis response in the second half and while that was the case to a certain extent, the visitors still managed the game. A fine save from Oblak kept out Cejudo just past the hour, but Simeone's side really should have scored at least once more late on, with Griezmann having a strong shout for a penalty, before hitting the post late on. In the end, it was another rearguard performance that secured all the points, with Godin the star of the show. It was a performance and indeed result that Atletico produced during their 2013-14 title-winning campaign. They will surely be strong challengers once again this season.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Diego Godin: This is not a difficult decision. The Atletico centre-back was excellent in the first period, but it was his performance in the second that impressed the most. The Uruguay international twice took heavy blows to the head - the first of which brought a big gash - but he was quickly on his feet and continued to put his head where it hurts in the latter stages. He was an absolute monster in both boxes.

Biggest gaffe

Xavi Torres will not look back too fondly on his part in Koke's goal after conceding possession, but referee Santiago Jaime had a bit of a stinker late on when he failed to award Atletico what was a certain penalty. Some calls are tough for referees to make, but this was not one of them. Westermann clearly brought Griezmann to the deck with a lunging challenge, but the Spanish official was not interested and waved play on. Jaime appeared to be in a good position to see the incident, which made the call even more bizarre.

Referee performance

Unfortunately, Jaime dropped a clanger late on with the penalty incident, but before that, the Spaniard had a good game. He only issued five yellow cards and was prepared to let the game flow when possible. More would have been made of the failed penalty award if Atletico did not end up winning the game.

What next?

Real Betis: Betis will attempt to return to winning ways in the league when they travel to struggling Levante in week 13's opening match on Friday evening.

Atletico: Simeone's side are in Champions League action at home to Galatasaray on Wednesday, before returning to their domestic duties with a home match against Espanyol next Saturday evening.

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Jose Gimenez for Atletico Madrid on January 7, 2015
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