I’m not one to blow my own trumpet but my parting words on my Valencia-Betis preview last weekend were…
“I don’t think there is a much better time to take on Valencia who are looking quite weak at the time. It’s a big game on Sunday for Betis (aren’t they all) and Poyet says the players know the importance of the game. I’ve got a feeling that we may pull a very good result out of the bag and perhaps Poyet can get his first win as manager and Betis can break that 30 year La Mestalla losing streak.”
And win we did!
Valencia 2 – 3 Betis
After a very dull year last season, this is the Betis I remember. It had everything an excellent game needs – plenty of goals, end to end match play, a red card, a comeback by the opposition to spark several cardiac problems, that was only to be banished by a 92nd minute winner from the legend that is Rubén Castro.
It was officially a partido de locura. Yeah our defence was shaky and we gave away a 2-0 lead, yet, it was the type of match that fans love. We showed fight, passion and excitement, all of which has been missing for a good while in my view. With the win we also managed to banish the 30 year La Mestalla voodoo that has been hanging over the club.
The Rubén Castro Show
Yet again the man just keeps on scoring goals. At the age of 35 he is currently La Liga’s pichichi with 4 goals in 3 games. His first goal was vintage Castro. The ball came across the box and he received it to his left of the penalty spot. With the defender sprinting across to make up the ground, Rubén simply dropped his shoulder, came back in on his right foot, said ‘hasta luego’ to Cancelo and curled the ball delightfully into the top right corner leaving Alves with not much chance at all.
Early in the second half Enzo Pérez didn’t do Valencia any good when he got sent-off for a not too handsome challenge on Durmisi. The other Betis legend, Joaquín, then compounded Los Che’s misery four minutes later when he made is 2-0. Durmisi dusted himself off to deliver a fantastic first time ball, pinged low and early across field straight on to the run of Joaquín who exploited an almost absent Valencia box to run through and finish well.
It wouldn’t be Betis without a major scare. Leading by two goals to nil is often called the most dangerous scoreline in football. If the losing team get one back, momentum is firmly on their side and quite often a second will follow. This is just what happened.
Rodrigo made in 2-1 on the 75th minute and Garay then scored on his debut to make it 2-2. Adán saved from a header off a corner but could only parry straight to Garay who stuck it in the back of the net.
The points looked like they were going to be shared, until Piccini made an ambitious, lunge busting run in the 92nd to then provide a beautiful cross along the ground to the back post where the ultimate goal poacher was to slot in.
Rubén Castro. 3-2 to Betis. First win at La Mestalla in 30 years. All three points going back to el Benito Villamarín. Marvellous.
Must have a quick mention to youngster Alex Alegría who lead the line well and Darko Brasanac making an impressive debut. Plus the fact that Real Beti Balompié are now 109 years old.