It was a hectic, dramatic and highly contentious finish to the Segunda season this Sunday. Although Betis’ promotion had been confirmed, they were in the thick of the controversy as they usually are, as they faced a Sporting side gunning for promotion.
The first thing to say is that Betis lost 3-0 at home to Sporting. A terrible and undignified result. It was contentious because the final automatic promotion place was a direct fight between Sporting and Girona, with the latter having a two point lead over the former. Sporting’s win at Betis but them on 84 points. Girona were beating Lugo 1-0…until the 92nd minute. That draw meant Girona finished on 84 points too, but had the worse head-to-head record. Consequently, Sporting achieved promotion.
It’s fair to say Girona are not best pleased. It fact they are fairly outraged. Girona president, Patxi Otamendi, has commented this evening on his ‘suspicion’ about the result in el Benito Villamarín; basically hinting that Betis have thrown the game so Sporting could join them in La Liga. Otamendi has said he wants the league to investigate. Even Girona player, Sandaza, has weighed in saying the result at Betis wasn’t ‘normal’.
It wasn’t ‘normal’ because Betis had nothing to play for and Sporting had a huge amount to play for, hence this ‘anomalous’ result.
Obviously, they would have said nothing of the sort if Girona hadn’t conceded a goal in the 92nd minute! Girona are now in the playoffs and still have a chance to go up. I think it is a case of putting the blame onto someone else.
As for Betis’ performance, what can I say? It is really annoying for fans (and other teams apparently) when teams switch off at the end of the season when they have achieved their objectives; but it happens. Have a look at Chelsea and Bayern Munich this season.
Since Pepe Mel’s arrival in December, Betis lost one game until two weeks ago when it was confirmed that they would be playing in La Liga next season. They have now lost two in a row and failed to score in either to finish the season in a rather flat manner. It would have been nice to carry the excellent form and momentum of the second half of the season into La Liga, but you can’t have everything.
The starting eleven for Betis was slightly different from the norm of the season, although Castro and Molina were up-front. The players who have come in haven’t really done themselves justice, but you can’t do too much about that. Everyone else already had their minds on their summer holidays.
Mel and Macià know they have to strengthen in the summer, hence the big rumours surrounding Rafael Van der Vaart whose contract ends with Hamburg in the summer. The club are likely to be busy in the transfer market.
As for the season as a whole – it has been job done. Betis are CHAMPIONS and are officially a LA LIGA team!!! You can’t blame the players for slackening off a little at the end when they knew they’d got what everyone at the club wanted.