Evening all! Week 30 in La Liga opens from Seville as Sevilla make the short trip to face Real Betis
, who have Champions League football on their minds. Both sides enter the match off the back of impressive wins last time out, but in these type of matches, the form book does tend to go out of the window.
In terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Betis have enjoyed the best of it with two wins from their five matches, with Sevilla claiming one win and the other two ending in a share of the spoils. However, as mentioned, Sevilla thumped Betis 5-1 in the reverse fixture at the beginning of the season.
The home side enter the match off the back of a 5-1 win over Granada, but that was just their second win in their last five matches. As it stands they sit in seventh position in the table, just four points off the top four. However, they will see this match as the sort of fixture they simply have to win if they are to secure a sensational return to the Champions League.
BETIS: Adrian; Chica, Paulao, Amaya, Martinez; Benat, Canas, Carlos, Castro; Pabon, Campbell
SEVILLA: Beto; Coke, Botia, Fazio, Moreno; Rakitic, Kondogbia, Medel; Reyes, Negredo, Navas
So there we have it. Real Betis boss Pepe Mel recalls on-loan Arsenal striker Joel Campbell to his starting side this evening, but there is no place for Jorge Molina, who drops to the bench. Dorlan Pabon
and Ruben Castro
also start for the home side. Sevilla, meanwhile, are pretty much as expected with Alvaro Negredo
gaining support from Jesus Navas and Jose Antonio Reyes.
Betis have been fairly impressive on their own patch this season with seven wins from their 15 matches, but they have lost five times in the process. That is in contrast to their away form, where they have the third-best record in the division. Their last league match at this stadium ended in a goalless draw with Getafe on April 1.
Sevilla, meanwhile, have won three of their last five matches to move into 10th position in the table. It has not been the best of seasons for the club, but a strong finish could hand them an outside chance of making the Europa League. However, there are 10 points separating them from the top four, where they had been expected to challenge.
It has been their away form that has cost them this season, with just one win from their 15 matches, losing 10 times in the process. Only Deportivo La Coruna have a worse record on their travels. That is in contrast to their home form, which is among the best in the division having won 11 of their 15 matches, losing just three times.
Taking a look at the statistics, both sides have posted very similar numbers this season. Sevilla have conceded 42 goals in their 30 matches thus far, while Betis have conceded 43. Down the other end, the numbers are also very similar with Sevilla scoring 45 goals to Betis’ 44. The omens suggest that we will have a tight match this evening.
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. Both sides recorded impressive wins last time out, but I cannot separate them this evening. It is a score draw for me.
Just a reminder of the main team news this evening. Campbell returns to the Betis attack alongside Pabon, but Molina is named on the bench, alongside Alvaro Vadillo. Sevilla, meanwhile, prefer Coke to Cicinho, but the rest of the side is as expected. Right, the away side get the action underway in Seville.
It must be said that there is a stunning atmosphere inside the stadium this evening. The early tempo of this derby match has been set as Paulao dives into a challenge with Negredo, but the referee does not take any subsequent action. The free kick is taken by Rakitic, but it was always moving over the crossbar.
Around 1300 Sevilla supporters in the stadium this evening. It is understood that allocation was sold out within the hour. Of course there is El Clasico in Spain, but this is the most fierce derby in my opinion. Just an incredible sound inside the stadium as Sevilla take control of the early possession.
Half-chance for the home side this time as Juan Carlos collects possession on the left before driving a cross into the box, but Botia is across to clear at the vital moment. The resulting corner is whipped in by Benat, but Beto comes through a host of players to make the clearance. Hardly time to take a breath in the opening six minutes of this match.
Good spell for the home side as they force two corners in quick succession, but the first is palmed over by Beto before the Portuguese comes to claim the second. Reyes wants a free kick moments later as he is bundled over on the break, but the referee is not interested. You just sense that the official will have a big role to play in this match as the challenges continue to fly in. Stunning tempo in the early stages as Campbell tests out Beto at his near post.
Testing times for Moreno as the Sevilla defender dives into a challenge with Campbell, felling the on-loan striker in the process. Benat is once more on free kick duties, but his delivery fails to evade the first man. However, it is indeed brought back, with Benat gaining a yellow card for failing to wait for the referee's whistle.
GOAL! Betis 0-1 Sevilla (Rakitic)
First blood to Sevilla! The away side have the lead entirely against the run of play as Rakitic collects a pass from Negredo before slotting his effort into the back of the net from a seemingly impossible angle. Where did that come form?
You have to praise Rakitic for his finish, but what was the goalkeeper doing? He simply cannot be beaten from that angle. The goal has certainly given Sevilla confidence, as Reyes floats another pass behind the Betis defence, but Adrian is out to clear. Stunning tempo with 10 minutes on the clock.
Unai Emery is the calmest man in the stadium as he gestures to Negredo to move forward. Sevilla have won just one match on the road this season, but they look in the mood this evening. Another half-chance arrives on the counter as Reyes dances into the box, but his cross just would not fall for Navas, who had evaded the capture of Medel.
Another half-chance arrives for Sevilla as Rakitic collects possession on the right before whipping a dangerous cross into the box, Negredo does indeed make contact, but the offside flag was raised. The away side launch another devastating counter moments later, but once more the flag is raised.
You just get the feeling that the next goal in this match could be crucial in terms of the final result. In this type of fixture, it is so important that the crowd does not turn on Betis. A home goal would certainly raise the atmosphere. That almost happens as Carlos has a strike from inside the box, but Coke throws himself in the way.
POST! It could and should be 2-0 to Sevilla as Negredo meets a cross from Rakitic, but his effort is turned onto the post by Adrian. I am not sure if that is a great save or a bad miss. Maybe a bit of both. Hardly time to take a breath as Betis fires just wide down the other end. What an incredible 18 minutes of football in Seville.
It's a bit of a nasty one from Kondogbia as the Sevilla midfielder dives into a challenge with Carlos, but the referee takes no further action. Carlos is involved moments later as he meets a cross from Campbell, but his header was always moving high of the crossbar. There has been no particular pattern to this match, just: you attack, we attack, you attack, we attack.
Chica is next to try his luck from distance as he thumps one from the edge of the box, but it was always moving high of the crossbar. Pepe Mel is waving his arms about on the touchline at the moment, but for the life of me I cannot understand what he is saying. Or maybe he is just caught up in the moment. There are derby matches, and then there is Betis against Sevilla. Still 1-0 with 19 minutes on the clock.
GOAL! Betis 0-2 Sevilla (Rakitic)
Sevilla have their second of the match inside 20 minutes as Rakitic bursts into the box before finishing past Adrian. The home side wanted a flag as Negredo was standing in an offside position, but the referee was not interested. Navas tries his luck moments later, but it is just wide of the post.
It is the away supporters that can be heard in this vast stadium with 22 minutes on the clock. They have won just once on the road this season, but they are well on their way to making it two this evening. Without sounding too harsh, the Betis defence has been woeful thus far.
Betis attempt to force the issue moments later as Campbell combines with Pabon before driving into the box, but his effort was just wide of the post. It is so important that they score the next goal, if there indeed is one. Benat wins a free kick outside the box, but his strike was always moving high of the crossbar.
Benat tries his luck from a similar distance moments later, but it was straight into the wall. I would be astounded if we ended with all 22 players on the pitch as the challenges continue to fly in. For the neutral, a Betis goal before the break would set us up nicely for the second period. Decent spell for the home side since they fell 2-0 behind.
Just when you think Betis have gained some sort of control over the possession, Navas nicks the ball before driving into the Betis half, but his low cross is straight into the arms of the goalkeeper. Each time Sevilla attack they look dangerous with Negredo and Reyes causing problems. And indeed Rakitic, who is on a hat trick.
Handbags between the two sets of players as Navas goes down holding his face under a challenge with Paulao. Replays have suggested that the Brazilian might have swung his arm into the face of Navas, but the referee is not buying it. Little under 15 minutes of football remaining in this explosive half, but the chances have just dried up in the last few moments.
The match has certainly settled in terms of the chances since that explosive opening period, but it does appear that the damage has already been done. Another horrific challenge comes in from Amaya, with the Betis defender receiving a booking. Unfortunately, you can sense that there will be more cards issued as the match advances, of the red variety that is.
Half-chance for the away side as Reyes whips the resulting free kick into the box, but Botia can only head over the crossbar when he might have done better. Again it is horror goalkeeping from Adrian, who comes to collect a cross but gets nowhere near it. There are more goals in this match that is for certain.
There may only be 1300 Sevilla supporters in the stadium, but they are making some noise as we approach the latter stages of the first period. And why not with their side 2-0 ahead against their biggest rivals. However, there has not been too many clear opportunities in the last 10 minutes or so.
GOAL! Betis 0-3 Sevilla (Negredo)
Wow, just wow. Sevilla have their third of the match as Reyes finds Negredo in the box. The striker takes one touch before firing his effort into the bottom corner. This stadium has been stunned into silence.
Well, it isn't what the neutral will want to hear, but this match is over. Sevilla have taken two points from a possible 36 on the road, but they lead 3-0. Incredibly, some home supporters have already started making their way towards the exit. This could get really nasty in the second period.
Half-chance for the home side this time as Benat strikes a free kick from outside the box, but it just flashed wide of the post. They just need some sort of inspiration from somewhere. In fairness to the home supporters, they have not abandoned their side in the latter stages of this first period.
Another free kick, this time for Sevilla, causes problems in the box as Rakitic floats a cross towards Negredo, but the referee blows his whistle for a foul on the goalkeeper. Betis attempt to launch a counter down the other end moments later, but once more it breaks down. Little over five minutes of the half remaining.
That just about sums up the first period for the home side as Campbell slices an effort high and wide of the crossbar from close range. I would be astounded if we did not see some changes at the interval. Another opportunity for Sevilla as Reyes thumps an effort from outside the box, but it whistled past the post.
GOAL! Betis 1-3 Sevilla (Pabon)
Game on!? Betis have a lifeline moments before the interval as Pabon races onto a pass from Castro before dinking his effort over the goalkeeper. Just a bit of hope for Betis as we approach the final minute of the first period.
Slight handbags between the two benches as another challenge comes in, but the referee does not take any further action. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional one minute at the end of the first period as Kondogbia heads just wide from a Reyes free kick.
HALF-TIME: Betis 1-3 Sevilla
Well, this match is already up there for as one of the games of the season. Incredible 45 minutes of action in Seville as the away side raced into a three-goal lead before being pegged back by Pabon on the stroke of the interval. Stunning entertainment in this derby fixture.
STATISTICS: The home side have just about shaded the possession with 51%, while they have had eight attempts to Sevilla's seven. There has been no real pattern or possession in the match, rather both teams taking their chances on the front foot. However, some poor Betis defending has aided their own downfall.
BENCH WATCH: The home side have a host of attacking options on the bench in the shape of Angel Lopez, Alvaro Vadillo and Jorge Molina, but I suspect that Pepe Mel will want to make changes to his defence. Meanwhile, Sevilla have the likes of Manu del Moral and Baba in reserve.
As it stands, Sevilla would move into eighth position in the table, just three points behind their opponents. It would also leave them just seven points outside of the top four. Is it too late? They may dare to dream. Be sure to remain with us for what should be a stunning second period.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. Just the one change at the interval as Carlos is replaced by Molina for Betis. You just get the feeling that Betis need to score the next goal in order to stand a chance of turning it around. The home side get the action underway.
Bright start from the home side as Benat fires a dangerous cross into the box, but Negredo rises to clear the danger. Another half-chance arrives moments later as Pabon combines with Campbell before curling an effort towards goal, but it was always moving wide of the post.
The threat of Sevilla on the counter is shown moments later as Navas evades two challenges before driving into the box, Kondogbia takes control moments later, but Amaya is across to make the challenge. End-to-end football in the early moments of this half as Negredo chips wide moments later. Wow.
The pressure continues from Sevilla as Reyes drives down the left before finding Rakitic on the edge of the box, but his effort is deflected behind for a corner. The resulting set piece is delivered by the Croatian, but Adrian comes to clear. Pabon is involved down the other end moments later, but once more it comes to nothing.
Another half-chance for Rakitic as he turns on the edge of the box before striking towards goal, but he could only drag his shot wide of the post. No sign of Sevilla attempting to sit back and hold onto their lead as they launch another attack. Can Betis score the all-important next goal?
PENALTY TO BETIS!
The home side are awarded a penalty in the early stages of the half as Fazio blocks Molina in the box. Replays have shown that it was indeed the correct decision. Castro will take the penalty. What a moment in this match.
GOAL! Betis 2-3 Sevilla (Castro)
Castro scores! Brilliant penalty from the Spaniard as he thumps his effort into the bottom corner. This stadium has absolutely exploded. What a match we have on our hands in Seville. Incredible football.
RED CARD TO MEDEL!
Sevilla have been reduced to 10 men as Medel is given his marching orders for a challenge on Canas. What on earth has he done? Canas is also booked for his role in the melee. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining and Sevilla will have to play with 10 men.
Well, there are good games, then there are great games. This has been a great game, and we still have 30 minutes of football to play. Another half-chance for the home side as Molina drives into the box before thumping an effort towards the bottom corner, but it smashes into the side netting.
It is all one-way traffic at the moment as the home side continue to force the issue in the final third. Campbell is the player involved as he drives down the left before whipping a cross into the box, but Beto is out to claim at the vital moment. You can almost sense another red card, meanwhile, as the challenges continue to fly in.
Rare attack for the away side as Rakitic whips a free kick into the Betis box, but Paulao rises highest to clear the danger. It sets up an immediate counter attack with Campbell finding Pabon, but his effort moves high and wide of the crossbar. Deafening noise inside the stadium with little over 25 minutes of football to play.
First change for the home side as Campbell is replaced by Vadillo. Sevilla simply cannot get out of their own half at the moment as Betis continue to force the issue, but a host of challenges continue to interrupt the flow of the match. You can just sense that we will have more goals this evening.
The pressure remains as Benat whips a dangerous corner into the box, but Pabon can only head over the crossbar when he perhaps should have done better. Sevilla finally have possession as Negredo combines with Navas before driving into the box, but once more it breaks down. It appears that Perotti will join join us for Sevilla.
The change is indeed made as Reyes is replaced by Perotti, who will just provide some legs in the middle of midfield. His introduction almost brings Sevilla's fourth goal as he floats a free kick towards Negredo, but the Spaniard can only head wide of the post. Little under 20 minutes of football remaining.
Another half-chance arrives for the home side as Benat strikes an effort from outside the box, but Beto was always comfortable in gathering the danger. The relief for Sevilla does not last long as Sevilla rounds Botia before finding Molina in the box, but he can only fire wide.
Stunning atmosphere inside the stadium as the home supporters attempt to suck the ball into the goal, but as it stands Sevilla are quelling the danger. The away side still have two changes should they so wish, while Pepe Mel has one substitution remaining. Will we have late drama here?
CHANCE! Wonderful opportunity for the home side as Vadillo dances into the box before finding Benat, the midfielder thumps a powerful effort towards goal, but Botia throws himself in the way. Sensational defending from the Sevilla centre-back. About as one-sided as you could imagine with 77 minutes on the clock.
Sevilla repel the danger once more before Navas drives into the Betis half, but his cross is cleared by Paulao. The resulting corner, which is taken by Rakitic, threatens to cause problems in the box, but Botia can only head wide. That is the most Sevilla have had the ball for some time.
Molina is next to try his luck from distance as he thumps an effort from outside the box, but his face says it all as it moves high and wide of the crossbar. Beto finds Navas from the resulting goal kick, but the winger is immediately surrounded by three defenders. Little under 10 minutes of football remaining in Seville.
You can almost sense the frustration in the stadium as another attack breaks down. Betis want another penalty moments later as Botia appears to handle in the box, but the referee is not interested. It would have been a harsh one. Castro darts between two defenders moments later, but just cannot find a finish.
Betis make their third and final change of the match as Paulao is replaced by Igiebor. Well, that is certainly an attacking change. It had to be with little under five minutes of football remaining. Sevilla have just slowed the match in the last few minutes with a period of possession, but they are not interested in attacking.
It's really good work from Kondogbia as the midfielder brings the ball all of 30 yards before winning a free kick in the opposing half. Sevilla make their second change of the match, meanwhile, as Kondogbia is replaced by Maduro, who will just provide a defensive shield in the latter stages.
Betis continue to force the issue with a series of high balls into the Sevilla box, but they just cannot make the breakthrough. However, you just get the feeling that there is another big chance left in the match. Little under one minute of normal time remaining in Seville.
GOAL! Betis 3-3 Sevilla (Nosa)
OH MY WORD! Betis have the equaliser in the final moment as Nosa rises in the penalty area before thumping a powerful header into the back of the net. What a moment. The stadium has just erupted.
Another half-chance arrives as Benat whips a free kick into the box, but Beto gets a strong punch on the cross. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional four minutes of added time as Negredo is replaced by Manu del Moral.
Betis are not finished as they push forward in search of the equaliser, but Benat's cross is cleared by Botia. Another cross comes into the box moments later, but the danger is quelled. Bar late late drama, we will end 3-3 here. Stunning evening of football.
FULL-TIME: Betis 3-3 Sevilla
So there we have it. A stunning match is brought to an end with the points being shared in a 3-3 draw. Betis appeared dead and buried at 3-0 down, but they rallied in the second period to secure a point. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us for more La Liga football tomorrow. Good evening!