Jan 21, 2013 at 8.30pm UK at ​Estadio Benito Villamarin
Real Betis
Athletic Bilbao
Castro (2' pen.)
Campbell (14'), Beñat (21'), Amaya (56'), Ruiz Herrera Canas (65'), Pérez (71')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Aduriz (41')
Iraizoz (1'), Gurpegui (9'), Iturraspe (74')

Live Commentary: Real Betis 1-1 Athletic Bilbao - as it happened

Live Commentary: Real Betis 1-1 Athletic Bilbao - as it happened
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live commentary of tonight's La Liga clash between Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao at the Estadio Benito Vilamarin.

Real Betis welcomed Athletic Bilbao to Seville on Monday looking to solidify fourth spot in the La Liga table.

They made the best possible start after two minutes when Ruben Castro converted from the penalty spot, but Bilbao responded well and were level four minutes before the break with a strike from Aritz Aduriz.

Both teams had chances in the second period, but neither could add to their tally as the points were shared in a close encounter.

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

8.01pmEvening all! Week 20 in La Liga is completed as Betis welcome a struggling Bilbao outfit to Seville. These two sides have certainly had contrasting fortunes this season, but with just under half of the campaign remaining, much is yet to be decided. We have certainly had some shocks this weekend with Barcelona suffering their first defeat of the season, while Madrid thumped Valencia at the Mestalla.

8.04pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Betis have just shaded the last five matches with three victories to Bilbao’s two. That said, Betis have won each of the last three encounters between the pair and will certainly enter this fixture as the favourites. Victory for the home side this evening would move them five points clear of fifth-placed Malaga.

8.07pmBetis did suffer disappointment in the Copa del Rey last week, however, as they were beaten 2-0 in the first leg of their quarter-final clash against Atletico Madrid. Perhaps the match showed the difference in quality between the top three teams and the rest of the division, but Betis will have certainly highlighted the league as their priority. Including their Copa del Rey win over Las Palmas, they have won three of their last five matches.


BETIS: Adrian; Lopez, Chica, Mario, Amaya; Sevilla, Benat, Canas, Castro; Molina, Campbell

BILBAO: Iraizoz; Iraola, Gurpegi, Ekiza, Laporte; Susaeta, Iturraspe, Herrera, Aduriz; Muniain, De Marcos

8.13pmBilbao, meanwhile, have really struggled this season. Long gone is the side that troubled Manchester United in the Europa League last season, while the continued uncertainty surrounding Fernando Llorente has caused the club no end of problems. The Spanish striker will leave the Basque outfit at the end of the season, but he has hardly featured this campaign and is on the bench again this evening.

8.16pmThe away side have managed just one win in their last five matches in all competitions and also suffered disappointment in the Copa del Rey before Christmas when they were dumped out of the tournament by second-tier side Eibar. The likes of Ander Herrera and Iker Muniain - who both start this evening - have largely struggled to recapture their form from last season, meaning that they have had to turn to experienced players that have failed to deliver.

8.19pmBetis entered the season with new-found confidence having reached the final of the Europa League and Copa del Rey under Marcelo Bielsa, while they also finished 10th in La Liga. However, they have faced nothing but criticism this season and could see themselves pulled into a relegation battle should their indifferent form continue. Tonight’s match will be seen as a key encounter for both of these sides, but for very different reasons.

8.22pmLet’s take a look at how both sides have fared in the league this season. Betis have conceded 29 goals in their 19 matches thus far, while Bilbao have conceded 39 in the same period, which is the second-worst total in the division. Malaga currently top the charts with just 17 conceded, while Deportivo sit one lower than Bilbao with 42 goals.

8.25pmWhat about down the other end? Betis have scored 30 goals in the league this season, a total bettered by just four teams in Spain’s top division. However, Bilbao have largely struggled, hitting just 23 in the same period. Bilbao also enter the match having taken just six points from the last 18 on offer, that is in contrast to Betis who have taken 12, the third-best in the division.

8.28pmHere we go then. We are just about two minutes from kickoff which can only mean one thing, time for my pre-match prediction. Betis have been better away from home this season, but I cannot see anything other than a home win this evening. There shouldn’t be too many goals based on recent form, therefore I am backing a 2-0 Betis victory.

0 minTonight’s referee is Miguel Ayza. Let’s hope that we are discussing the football and not the officials come the end of the evening. A reminder of the main team news, the home side name an attacking side with Ruben Castro, Joel Campbell and Jorge Molina all starting, while Bilbao have also named an top-heavy team with Aduriz, Muniain and De Marcos in the final third. The home side get the action underway.

1 minPENALTY TO BETIS: The home side are awarded a penalty inside the opening minute as Iraizoz fells Salva Sevilla inside the penalty area with a dangerous challenge. What an incredible start to this match. Ruben Castro with the chance to send the home side into the lead.

2 minGOAL! Real Betis 1-0 Athletic Bilbao (Castro)

2 minJust like that the home side lead as Castro fires his penalty into the top corner. The question has to be asked, what on earth was the Bilbao goalkeeper doing coming that far out? He had no right to make that challenge. Bielsa's face tells the whole picture. His side trial inside the opening moments.

4 minIt must be said that there really is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium this evening. This really is a terrific venue to play your football. Impressive start from the home side as they attempt to secure their second with bold work from Campbell, but the on-loan Arsenal attacker is just quelled by the challenge of Iraola and Bilbao finally have possession.

6 minFirst real sight of goal for the away side as Herrera picks up possession outside the box before firing an effort towards the top corner, but it moves high and wide of the goal with Adrian untroubled. Betis attempt to attack down the other end with Castro, but the Spaniard cannot find Campbell with a searching pass and the away side gather possession once more.

8 minAgain it's bright work from the home side as Antonio Amaya combines with Benat before driving into the penalty area, but this time Ekiza is across to make a fair challenge and the danger is cleared. Herrera finds Aduriz in the penalty area down the other end moments later, but Mario is across to gather.

10 minEnd-to-end football at the moment with neither side too interested in defending. In fairness to Bilbao they have responded well since falling behind to an early goal. However, Castro comes close to making it 2-0 with a long-range effort, but Iraizoz moves to his left to make the save. I predicted few goals this evening, the start certainly suggests otherwise.

12 minBilbao receive their second yellow card of the evening as Gurpegi fells Sevilla in his prime, it was not a clever challenge from the experienced defender. Another opportunity arrives for the home side moments later as Campbell curls an effort from the edge of the box, but it just moves high of the crossbar. This stadium is absolutely bouncing with the home supporters singing their hearts out. Wonderful to watch. This is a proper football stadium.

14 minNeither side is taking particular care in possession at the moment with a host of passes failing to reach the desired target. However, that is adding to the excitement as both teams continue to push forward. It might have fallen for Jorge Molina just outside the Bilbao box, but Laporte is across to make the clearance.

16 minBilbao are a threat in this match make no mistake about that. De Marcos continues to cause problems with his pace and movement, but thus far we have seen little from Muniain. The young striker just has not pushed on from last season. He looked a world beater at times in the previous campaign. It really has been a high-tempo 16 minutes with neither team afraid to attack with numbers.

18 minHalf-chance for Bilbao as Muniain gains a free kick from Campbell, who picks up a yellow card for his troubles. The resulting set piece is taken by Herrera, but the delivery is poor as it moves straight out of play for a goal kick. That is so far over-hit that it isn't true. Betis still lead courtesy of that early Castro penalty.

20 minA mix-up in the Bilbao penalty area creates another half-chance for the home side as Laporte is forced to turn behind his own goal with Iraizoz failing to collect. The resulting corner is taken by Benat, but Amaya can only head over the crossbar. The pressure is just starting to build once more.

22 minAnother sighter for the home side as Benat meets a cross from Sevilla, but the midfielder can only flick his effort wide of the target. The home supporters call for another booking as De Marcos fells Campbell out wide, but the referee shakes his head. Benat takes the resulting free kick, but Iraizoz punches clear before the danger is scrambled away by Ekiza.

24 minThe match has just become ever so untidy in the past few minutes with both teams guilty of giving away a host of free kicks. The latest challenge is made by Benat, who receives a yellow card for his troubles. There is just a danger of this match boiling over with the home supporters putting pressure on the referee at each opportunity.

25 minCHANCE Bilbao's best opportunity thus far comes to Herrera as the Spanish midfielder thumps an effort from the edge of the area, but Adrian comes across to make a fine diving save. All it takes is one moment like that and this match is level. Enthralling opening 25 minutes to proceedings.

27 minWe have hardly had time to breathe inside the opening 27 minutes of this match with Bilbao taking an early lead. Both sides have had chances to add to the scoring since that moment, but neither has been able to hit the back of the net. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if there indeed is one - could have a huge say on the final result.

29 minThe Betis supporters continue to sing their hearts out in an attempt to drive their team towards the Bilbao goal, but the chances have just dried up in the last few moments with neither team creating too much in the final third. Meanwhile, a host of free kicks continues to interrupt to tempo.

31 minBilbao have just started to enjoy their best spell with Herrera and Muniain starting to have an influence on the match. The latter takes control of a bouncing ball before finding Susaeta on the right, but the Spaniard's cross just would not fall for De Marcos in the area. Nothing much from Betis as an attacking threat in the last few minutes.

33 minBetis do eventually threaten as Castro wins possession from Ekiza before driving a low cross into the box towards Molina, but the Spaniard just cannot make proper contact. Bilbao create a half-chance on the counter with the pace of Muniain, but Aduriz could not find a finish and it moves out of play for a goal kick.

35 minNot a great deal to report in the last few minutes with both sides exchanging spells of possession in midfield. A half-chance does arrive for the away side as Muniain dances past two challenges before driving into the box, but Amaya comes across to make a fine challenge. Little over 10 minutes of the half remaining and Betis lead 1-0 courtesy of an early Castro penalty.

37 minAnother opportunity comes on the counter attack for Betis as Campbell combines with Canas before driving a low cross into the box, but once more the danger is cleared. In fairness to the away side they have certainly tightened the ship since conceding that early goal. They perhaps should be level as we enter the final stages of the half.

39 minThe noise has just been raised inside the stadium once more as Betis pass and probe outside the Bilbao penalty area. However, they are struggling to find that final pass as things stand. Meanwhile, it appears that the home side could be forced into making a change before the interval. Indeed the change is made as Nono replaces Sevilla.

41 minAnother half-chance for the away side as Herrera picks up possession before striking an effort from outside the box, but it was always moving wide of the post. The young Spanish midfielder has been bright thus far this evening. But still Betis lead with four minutes of the half remaining.

41 minGOAL! Real Betis 1-1 Athletic Bilbao (Aduriz)

42 minWow! We are level in the latter stages of the first period as Herrera finds Aduriz with a delicious pass and the Spanish striker is cool enough to chip his effort over the onrushing goalkeeper. You cannot say that it has not been coming. What an opening half of action it has been.

44 minBilbao threaten once more as De Marcos drives into the penalty area, but he can only fire his effort just wide of the target. Betis really want the half-time break to come as they struggle to get out of their own half. Oh how things have changed. It is an old cliché but goals certainly change games.

45 minAnother half-chance for Iturraspe as the Spaniard darts into the penalty area, but he can only fire his effort high of the target. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional one minute of football at the end of the half. Bilbao will certainly not want the first period to end as things stand.

45 min+1HALF-TIME: Real Betis 1-1 Athletic Bilbao

9.18pmSo there we have it. An enthralling first period is brought to an end with the two sides level at 1-1. Betis took an early lead with a Castro penalty, but Aduriz struck late in the half to level the scores at 1-1. Fantastic entertainment.

9.22pmLet's take a look at some statistics from the opening half of football. Bilbao have just shaded the possession with 54%, while they have had four attempts to the home side's two. It appeared that there would be only one winner after two minutes, but Bilbao have certainly impressed since the early stages.

9.26pmLet's take a look at the benches this evening. The home side have already made one change with Nono replacing Sevilla, but they still have the likes of Paulao and Eder Vilarchao to call upon in the second period. Bilbao also have a host of attacking options on the bench with Llorente, Ramalho and Ibai in reserve.

9.30pmJust a reminder that three points for Betis this evening would move them five points clear of fifth-placed Malaga, but a point would keep them in fourth, just three ahead. Meanwhile, as things stand, Bilbao would remain in 14th position, just four points clear of the bottom three.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of the second period. No changes for either side at the interval which is not all that surprising. The match is just so delicately poised with 45 minutes of action yet to come. Be sure to remain with us for the entirety. Bilbao get us underway.

48 minBilbao start the second period how they ended the first as Muniain dances past two challenges before firing a low cross into the box, but Mario is across to clear the danger. There really has been a shift of power with the away side looking the more accomplished outfit. This is a real test for Betis this evening make no mistake about that.

50 minI have just been informed that there was in fact two changes at the interval with Gurpegi being replaced by Aurtenetxe for the away side. The former did struggle in the first period and picked up a yellow card and therefore it is not all that surprising that he has been taken off. Meanwhile, Bilbao - who continue to pass and probe outside the Betis penalty area - replaced Mario with Paulao.

52 minAnother half-chance for the away side as Susaeta drives down the tight before firing a high cross into the box, but Muniain can only head over the crossbar. Betis attack down the other end as Benat fires a high ball into the penalty area, but it breaks down. End-to-end football in the early stages of the second period.

54 minThe pressure continues as Herrera strikes a low effort from outside the box, but it is straight at Adrian and the Betis goalkeeper is able to collect. It would be no exaggeration to state that Betis have hardly been in the Bilbao half in the second period. But we have seen them score from this position all too often this season.

56 minJust as I say that Molina collects a loose ball in the penalty area before firing an effort on goal, but Ekiza is across to make a fine block and clear the danger. It would be just like Bilbao if they were to concede during their best spell of the match. Neither team is showing any signs that they would be happy to play for a point in the final 35 minutes or so.

58 minBenat remains the most likely for Betis as he fires yet another high free kick into the Bilbao box, but once more the danger is cleared. The resulting corner is also taken by the Spanish midfielder, but Ekiza rises to head clear of the penalty area. This match really could go either way with both teams threatening.

60 minNot a great deal to report in the past few minutes with neither side threatening to add to the scoring. Betis have certainly quelled some of the pressure from the away side, but have not really posed a threat of their own. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining and the score still sits at 1-1 as the fouls continue to interrupt the tempo.

62 minCHANCE! Clear opportunity for Betis as Amaya finds himself unmarked in the penalty area, but he can only turn his effort wide of the post. Pepe Mel encourages his side despite the miss, but that really should have been 2-1. Meanwhile, the home side have a penalty shout turned down as Herrera appears to handle in the box.

64 minBilbao advance straight down the other end and continue with threaten with two corners in quick succession, but the first is headed clear by Chica before Laporte fires over the crossbar. The tension around the stadium can certainly be felt. The home supporters just need to raise their side once more here.

66 minCHANCE! Another chance comes and goes for Bilbao as Susaeta collects possession inside the penalty area, but his effort was always rising when he perhaps should have hit the target. You just get the feeling that there is another goal in this match. But it could come to either side.

68 minNeither goalkeeper has had much to do in this second period despite a host of half-chances. Another one arrives, this time for Betis, as Campbell finds Molina in the box, but his header is just over the target. Just a reminder that Betis have one change remaining should they so wish, while the away side have two.

70 minBetis do indeed make their third change of the match as Canas is replaced by Ruben Perez. Right, we have just about 20 minutes of football to play in Seville and the two sides remain level at 1-1. Betis have offered more of a threat in the past few minutes, but just cannot find that elusive pass in the final third. In truth, Bilbao are having the same problem despite their pressure.

72 minThe referee is called into action once more as he is forced to stop play on a number of occasions as the challenges continue to fly in. It would be fair to state that there has been a bit of spice in this match, but it has not boiled over, not yet anyway. Bilbao drive forward with Muniain, but his cross is headed clear by Lopez once more.

74 minBetis are really struggling to contain Bilbao at the moment as Perez is booked for hauling Ekiza to the ground. The resulting free kick causes danger in the Betis penalty area, but Chica just manages to clear his lines at the vital moment. Little over 15 minutes of football remaining and the score stays level at 1-1.

76 minCHANCE! The opportunity comes to Bilbao as Herrera finds Aduriz with a searching cross, but the striker's powerful header is pushed away by Adrian. That is a save of the very highest order. Betis advance down the other end with Benat, but his pass is just too long for Castro.

78 minBetis threaten with a chance of their own as Benat delivers a dangerous free kick into the Bilbao penalty area, but Ekiza is once more on hand to head clear. How good has he been this evening? You have to credit the away side for the way that they have responded since the early goal. It would have been really easy for them to crumble.

80 minAnother half-chance falls to Bilbao as De Marcos collects a pass from Herrera before rounding the goalkeeper, but his final touch just took him too far away from the goal and Chica was on hand to provide the cover. There is a real sense of nervousness around the ground in the final stages of this match. Would a point be a decent result for both sides? It wouldn't be the worst result put it that way.

82 minBilbao make their second change of the evening as Muniain is replaced by Ibai Gomez. That is a strange decision with the young striker's pace and movement causing all sorts of problems to Betis. A half-chance arrives moments later as Susaeta drives a low cross into the box, but once more the danger is cleared by Lopez.

84 minSlightly scrappy period of the match at the moment with neither team taking too much care in possession. A goal in the final stages would be really harsh, but it would be difficult to argue that Bilbao have not deserved to take all three points. Little over five minutes of football remaining and Betis have possession in the opposing half.

86 minAnother half-chance comes and goes for the away side as Gomez strikes a powerful effort from outside the penalty area, but it was always moving wide of the post. Nothing much from Betis in the past few moments with signs that they are happy to sit in and protect what they have.

88 minBilbao continue to threaten as Susaeta dances into the penalty area, but his effort is pushed away by Adrian before De Marcos fires wide moments later. The home side advance down the other end with Perez, but the midfielder cannot sort out his feet in time and Iraizoz gathers once more.

90 minBenat remains the biggest threat for Betis as the Spaniard beats two challenges before driving into the box, but he just cannot find a final pass. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes of football at the end of the 90.

90 min+2CHANCE! Wonderful opportunity for Bilbao to win it as Ibai whips a dangerous cross into the penalty area, but De Marcos just cannot convert and Adrian demonstrates incredible goalkeeping to claw the ball to safety. However, the pressure remains from the away side.

90 min+3FULL-TIME: Real Betis 1-1 Athletic Bilbao

10.22pmThe referee blows the final whistle with the points being shared in a 1-1 draw. Betis have got away with one this evening with Bilbao much the better side for long periods of the match. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the events and be sure to join us for more sporting action this week. Good evening!

Radamel Falcao
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