Feb 2, 2014 at 4pm UK at ​Estadio Benito Villamarin
Real Betis
2-0
Espanyol
Castro (71', 89')
Sevilla (50'), Reyes (55'), Jordi (74')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Sanchez (68')

Live Commentary: Real Betis 2-0 Espanyol - as it happened

Live Commentary: Real Betis 2-0 Espanyol - as it happened
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Relive Sports Mole's commentary of the La Liga clash in Seville where Real Betis beat Espanyol 2-0.

Sunday's La Liga clash pitted basement outfit Real Betis against Espanyol in Seville.

Betis shaded the first period, but could not make the breakthrough with the two sides level at the interval.

The home side did find the back of the net in the second half, however, with a double from Ruben Castro securing all the points.

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


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3.31pmAfternoon all! The first of our three back-to-back live La Liga commentaries comes from Seville as Real Betis welcome Espanyol. The home side have taken just one point from their last six matches, with that run of form leaving them bottom on 11 points. Espanyol, however, have their sights firmly set on a top-10 finish.

3.34pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Espanyol have won two of the last five matches, with Betis winning once and the further two fixtures ending in draws. As mentioned, the last time the two sides met in this stadium was in September 2012, when Betis collected all the points with a 1-0 win.

3.37pmTEAMS:

BETIS: Adan; Juanfran, Amaya, N’Diaye, Jordi; Carlos, Reyes; Verdu, Salva, Chuli; Castro

ESPANYOL: Casilla; J. Lopez, Colotto, Moreno, Alvarez; Rodriguez, D. Lopez, Sanchez; Cordoba, Garcia, Simao


3.40pmSo there we have it. The big news in the Betis XI is that there are debuts for goalkeeper Antonio Adan and on-loan Sunderland midfielder Alfred N'Diaye. Meanwhile, Ruben Castro and Verdu also start for the hosts. Espanyol have Jhon Cordoba leading their line once more with support from Sergio Garcia. Simao also gets the nod in an experienced side.

Betis can be seen going through their official warm-up here...



3.43pmAs it stands, Betis are 11 points from safety at the bottom of the table. They have won just two of their 21 matches this season, collecting 11 points in the process. Every game is a must-win at the moment, but time is not on their side with 17 matches remaining. However, three points this afternoon would be a start. As mentioned, they have N'Diaye in their XI, who joined on loan from Sunderland on January 31...



3.46pmBoth of their league wins this season have come on their own patch, where they have also lost six times in the process. However, their away record is the worst in the league. They are the only team in La Liga not to pick up three points on the road, while they have scored just eight goals in their 10 away games.

3.49pmGoals in general have been a problem for Betis this season with just 18 in their 21 matches, which is the joint-worst record in the league. Espanyol, meanwhile, have found the back of the net on 25 occasions. Down the other end, Betis have the second-worst defensive record with 47 conceded, but Espanyol have been strong in that department with 27 conceded.

3.52pmIt has been an indifferent season for Espanyol thus far with some positive performances and results coupled with some disappointing ones. As it stands, they sit in 10th position in the table having won seven, drawn five and lost nine of their 21 matches. Three points this afternoon would move them above Valencia and into eighth position.

3.55pmEspanyol have struggled on the road this season, however, with just two wins from their 10 matches, losing five times in the process. On their own patch, they have lost four times, but picked up five wins in the process. For a team that struggled in the early part of last season, anything around mid-table would be deemed a successful campaign.

3.58pmPREDICTION: It has been nothing short of a torrid season for Betis thus far with three managers unable to change their fortunes. There is a feel-good atmosphere around the stadium this afternoon, however, and I am backing them to pick up all three points against an inconsistent Espanyol. My score prediction is 2-1 Betis.



1 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the first period. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Can Betis start their climb up the table? The home side get the action underway on this warm afternoon in Seville.



2 minNot a full house inside the stadium, but there is a strong atmosphere. Simply put, Betis need to start picking up points. Draws are not enough, but it would be a start. Espanyol gain the first free kick as Jordi fells Alvarez, but Amaya is on hand to clear at the vital moment, before the resulting corner is headed clear by Carlos.

4 minYou just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital in this type of match. Betis have been forced to retreat in the last couple of moments with Espanyol taking control of the possession. However, no real opportunities for either side in the early exchanges.

6 minCordoba is causing Betis problems with his presence at the moment as Espanyol continue to look for the Colombian. There is no question that Amaya and N'Diaye will have their hands full in Seville. Betis attempt to break with Juanfran, but the Spaniard's final pass is cleared by Moreno. Good intensity to the opening six minutes.

8 minCHANCE! The first real chance of the match falls to Betis as Sevilla collects a loose ball outside the box before curling one towards the top corner, but it just moved high of the crossbar. That has certainly raised the atmosphere inside the stadium.

10 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the last few moments, but Espanyol remain in control of the possession. Betis are playing like the away side as they continue to counter, but that strike from Sevilla remains the only clear chance. Good intensity to the match with 10 minutes on the clock.

13 minBetis continue to come under siege in the early stages with Espanyol the more dominant force. That said, the away side have created very little in the final third. It is impossible to play down the importance of this match to Betis' chances. They must start picking up wins if they are to have a chance of securing survival.

15 minIt has been a confident and composed start from N'Diaye, with the Betis centre-back impressing on his debut. Espanyol forward Cordoba continues to cause problems with his pace and power, but the only real chance of the match has came to Betis. Still goalless after 15 minutes.

17 minGood pressure from Betis in the last couple of moments as they force two corners in quick succession, but Moreno and Colotto take turns to clear the danger. Sevilla has a half-chance moments later, but he can only turn wide of the post from close range. Much better from Betis in the last five minutes or so.

20 minOpportunity for Espanyol to threaten from a set piece as Simao stands over a free kick outside the box. The Portuguese finds the head of Colotto, but his effort is just wide of the post. The atmosphere remains high inside the stadium, but clear chances have been few and far between in the opening 20 minutes of this La Liga clash.

22 minBetis have started to take control of the possession in the last few moments with Verdu and Reyes seeing more of the ball in the middle of the park. The latter attempts to find the run of Chuli, but Casilla is out to claim. Little over 20 minutes of the first period remaining in Seville. Still goalless.

24 minAnother opportunity for Espanyol to deliver into the Betis box, but Simao's quality is short of the required standard. The referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last couple of moments, meanwhile, as the challenges continue to fly in from both sides.

26 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for the home side to take the lead as Juanfran finds Castro inside the box with a fine cross, but the striker can only place his effort wide of the post. The chances are starting to arrive with 26 minutes on the clock.

29 minAnother half-chance for Castro as the Betis forward turns inside the Espanyol box, but his low effort is wide of the post. Not too much in terms of chances for Espanyol in the last 10 minutes or so, with Cordoba too often left isolated in the final third.

31 minHalf-chance for Espanyol as Simao delivers a dangerous cross into the Betis box, but Adan manages to clear. The home side break down the other end with Juanfran, but the winger is chopped down by Rodriguez as the end-to-end period of the match continues. It remains goalless, but both sides have had opportunities.

33 minJust a reminder that following this match we have action from the Spanish capital as Atletico Madrid welcome Real Sociedad - be sure to remain with us for that one. Back in Seville, Betis continue to force the issue, but they are finding it difficult to carve out clear chances with 33 minutes on the clock.

35 minThe referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last couple of moments due to a number of late challenges in the middle of the park. Espanyol have just started to deliver some crosses into the Betis box, but the home side's defence has been compact thus far.

38 minHalf-chance for the away side as Garcia strikes one from outside the box on the bounce, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. That has been the story of the first period, but Betis have certainly had the better of the chances.

40 minEspanyol are not too pleased with the referee at the moment as a couple of late challenges go unpunished on the edge of the Betis box. It has been scrappy in the last five minutes or so as the first period enters its latter stages. It remains goalless in Seville.

42 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Espanyol as Cordoba's pace takes him into the Betis box, but Jordi is across to make a wonderful challenge at the vital moment. There is no question that the home side look more certain in defensive areas than they have in recent weeks.

44 minOpportunity for Betis to threaten from a free kick as Juanfran is felled outside the box by Moreno. Sevilla stands over the set piece before curling one towards the top corner, but Casilla watches it wide of his post. Still goalless in Seville.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Betis 0-0 Espanyol

4.47pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. Betis have had the best of the chances, but Espanyol have also had their moments on the counter. It is delicately poised ahead of the second period.

4.52pmSTATISTICS: The home side have just about shaded the possession with 52%, while they have had six attempts to Espanyol's four. However, neither side has registered a single attempt on target, which is an indication of the first period. Let's hope for more action in the second half.

4.57pmBENCH WATCH: The home side have a number of attacking options on their bench in the shape of Leo Baptistao, Jorge Molina and Nosa Igiebor. Meanwhile, Espanyol have the likes of Stuani, Pizzi, Abraham and Torje in reserves. There are certainly goals in that list of players.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of the second period. Just a reminder that following this match we have action from Atletico Madrid against Real Sociedad - be sure to remain with us for that. Right, Espanyol get the second 45 minutes underway.

48 minNo changes for either side at the interval, which is not much of a surprise at this stage of proceedings. However, I suspect changes will occur if the score remains level for the next 20 minutes or so. You just get the feeling that one goal could be enough to claim all the points. Bright start from Betis, who have taken control of the early possession in the second period.

50 minHalf-chance for the away side as Simao delivers a dangerous cross into the Betis box, but Adan manages to palm clear. Simao delivers the resulting corner towards Adan, but once more the Spanish goalkeeper clears. It has been an impressive debut for the former Real Madrid stopper. Not too much in terms of clear chances in the early stages of the half.

53 minHalf-chance for Betis this time as Castro delivers a low cross into the box, but Casilla collects under pressure from Chuli. Cordoba is down the other end for Espanyol moments later, but Amaya is on hand to clear. Still goalless with 53 minutes on the clock in this La Liga clash.

55 minAnother opportunity for the home side as Castro meets a low cross from Carlos, but Casilla is on hand to make a fine save at his near post. Not too much for Espanyol to get excited about in the last few moments as Betis remain the team on the front foot. Little over 35 minutes of this La Liga clash remaining. Can Betis open the scoring on their own patch?

57 minGood pressure from Espanyol in the last couple of moments as they continue to deliver free kicks into the Betis box, but N'Diaye and Amaya have been impressive this afternoon. Still no sign of the opener, but the match is starting to open up with 57 minutes on the clock.

59 minBright work from Garcia presents a half-chance to Cordoba inside the Betis box, but the Colombian cannot make a proper contact. Betis break down the other end with Verdu, but his through pass is collected by Casilla. End-to-end football in Seville.

62 minAnother half-chance for Betis as Juanfran strikes one from outside the box, but his effort was always moving high of the crossbar. Moments later, Betis make their first change with on-loan Atletico Madrid forward Leo replacing Chuli, who has struggled to influence proceedings thus far. Little under 30 minutes remaining in this La Liga clash.

64 minEspanyol make their first change as Stuani replaces Cordoba, who has not had the same impact as he managed last week against Valencia. You just get the feeling that one goal would be enough to collect all the points. It could turn Betis' season if they manage to collect all three points.

66 minThe referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last few moments due to a number of late challenges. The latest free kick arrives for Betis some 40 yards from goal. However, Casilla comes to collect the delivery from Verdu. Chances have been few and far between in the second period.

68 minEspanyol make their second change of the match as Abraham enters the field in place of David Lopez, whose legs have tired in the second period. Still we wait for the first real opportunity of the second period. Little over 20 minutes remaining and as it stands, the points will be shared.

70 minHalf-chance for Betis as Verdu delivers a dangerous cross into the Espanyol box, but Alvarez is on hand to clear under pressure from Leo. The resulting corner is delivered into the near post, but Simao is on hand to perform his defensive duties.

71 minEspanyol make their third and final change with little over 15 minutes remaining as Alvarez is replaced by Fuentes. Betis still have two permitted changes remaining and it would not be a surprise to see fresh faces in the next five or so minutes. Free kick after free kick continue to bring little success.

71 minGOAL! Betis 1-0 Espanyol (Castro)

72 minBetis take the lead with little under 20 minutes remaining as Castro latches onto a loose ball inside the box before converting from close range. What a massive three points this could be.

74 minBetis appear intent on scoring their second as Castro leads another counter, but his cross is straight into the arms of Casilla. Little over 15 minutes remaining and Betis are on course for what could be a season-changing three points.

77 minBetis' defence continues to be called into action with a number of high balls into their box, but the danger is cleared once more. You just get the feeling that there will be at least one more big chance in this match. Can Espanyol break Betis hearts?

79 minBetis make their second change of the match as Sevilla is replaced by Nosa for the final 10 minutes or so. Just a reminder that following this match we have live text coverage of Atletico Madrid against Real Sociedad - be sure to remain with us for that one, before Athletic Bilbao host Real Madrid in the late start.

82 minNosa is immediately in the wars as he takes a blow in the ribs after driving into the Espanyol box. Not too much in terms of a response from the away side as Betis continue to force the issue. Another goal would make the final stages more comfortable for those inside the stadium.

84 minBetis continue to control the possession as we approach the final five minutes of action. Verdu is involved for the home side as he feeds Castro inside the box, but Moreno is across to clear at the vital moment. Is there to be late drama?

86 minCHANCE! Oh my word what a chance! Incredible opportunity for Espanyol to level as Stuani turns two defenders inside the box before facing up to Adan, but he fires his effort straight at the Betis goalkeeper. That was indeed their best chance of the match.

88 minBetis are forced into their third change as Sosa, who has not long been on the field, is replaced by Matilla. In truth, Espanyol do not look capable of finding the back of the net in the final stages. However, it would encompass Betis' season if they conceded late on.

89 minGOAL! Betis 2-0 Espanyol (Castro)

90 minCastro scores his second and surely secures the points for the home side as he rattles a low effort into the bottom corner from just outside the box.

90+3 minThe fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes and we are indeed into the last of those. No response from Espanyol as Betis continue to control the possession.

90+3 minFULL TIME: Betis 2-0 Espanyol

5.49pmSo there we have it. Castro scores twice as Betis pick up just their third league win of the season. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to remain with us for Atletico against Sociedad. Until then!

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5Leganes952283517
6Villarreal95131510516
7Real Betis95131917216
8Sevilla951398116
9Real Sociedad94141918113
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12Athletic Bilbao93241010011
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16GironaGirona9144713-67
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