The combination Béticos had been dreaming of all summer became reality on Saturday evening when Rubén Castro and Joaquín joined forces.
Not only did they just adorn the same green and white shirt on what was the 108th anniversary of this great football club, they combined through their footballing forces to create the match-winning goal in the 41st minute. Jorge Molina played the ball out wide to Joaquín who was just there occupying the space on the right wing, about five yards back from the edge of the box. Exactly where you would want your winger when the play is on the other side and exactly what Betis have been missing for a long time.
As the ball travelled to Joaquín, the Real Sociedad defence were on the scramble to get out to him. His first touch was ok, he readjusted slightly, then whipped in a majestic ball to the far post on line with the 6 yard box where waiting was just the man you would want: Rubén Castro, who had just peeled off the last defender. A diving header later and the ball was in the opposite corner. Wonderful.
David Moyes had been Rubén Castro’d.
There were many other pleasing aspects to this result. One that wasn’t pleasing was the sending off of centre-midfielder Petros on the stroke of half time for his second booking. However, with 10 men Betis didn’t falter. Pepe Mel showed a good tactical side combined with intelligence to see the game out, something which he has been critiqued for in the past.
After the sending off, Mel brought off Molina and replaced him with Dani Ceballos, whereas David Moyes through on the artillery in Chory Castro.
However, Betis had a new name in the centre of defence: Heiko Westermann. The German made his debut on Saturday and was a solid wall. Something else that Betis needed, after a bit of a shaky start. He added order and physicality. It doesn’t matter than La Real are yet to score this season. He did a job and he did it bloody well, getting his head on everything and adding a bit of tenacity to proceedings.
Betis showed a spirit on Saturday which had been missing a bit during pre-season (understandbly) and the opening couple of games.Yes, they suffered and it wasn’t vintage, but in front of just less than 40,000 fans, this was the real Betis. There were two debuts on Saturday and both played brilliantly: Joaquín and Westermann.
With lots of new signings, the team are going to take a while to gel and produce, but this was a great sign of the things to come.
You can see highlights of the game here courtesy of the fantastic www.videosdelbetis.com
A new Bético in the stands
At the weekend Linus Lövgren (@LajnusLovgren), huge Betis fan and friend of BlogBetis.com, made the trip from Sweden to Sevilla to watch his first Betis game. Linus has been making great videos about Betis for years (see his youtube channel here) and is well known in the community, he even managed to get a few mentions in the local papers!
Nice one Linus y mucho Betis!