Betis had 3 players to thank as they took all 3 points back to Andalucía: Antonio Adán, Joaquín and Rubén Castro.
The first half was a huge disappointment for Betis. A lack of urgency, ideas and ability. Sporting were completely the better team and if it wasn’t for Antonio Adán, it could have easily been 3-0 to the hosts.
Sporting went one-nil up through Castro after good wing play by on-loan dangerman Halilovic. Someone in green really should have put a foot in, but the Barcelona loanee wriggled from the wing and slid it into Castro’s feet. Castro made a movement towards the ball then turned back towards goal, completely selling out Bruno and Westermann before applying a good finish.
It needed an inspiring half time team talk from Pepe Mel to spur his Betis side into action.
Just a minute after the restart and Betis were level. Cejudo bounced on an error in the Sporting half and delivered a nice lofted cross to Rubén Castro who nodded it across into the path of Joaquín to head in across the goal into the opposite corner for his first Betis goal since resigning.
Pure poetry in motion.
Betis took the lead not long after. It started with a Sporting corner from which Adán made a save. He then whacked the ball upfield to Rubén who cleverly nudged the centre half in the back to leave him in a sprint for the ball with the other defender.
Castro got there first and from just outside the area absolutely thundered the ball which pinged off the bar and into the back of the net – Tony Yeboah style.
Since his signing in 2010, Rubén Castro has scored 34% of Betis league goals – 105 of 303 (stat via @pedritonumeros).
Antonio Adán continued his wonderful performance producing a number of vital saves in the second half.
Ceballos and Joaquín made way for Petros and Molina as Pepe Mel looked to close out the game. It really should have finished 3-1 when Molina somehow missed an open goal.
Whatever Pepe Mel said at half time worked and he will be ecstatic to take all the points back to el Villamarín.
Viva el Betis!