Hemos vuelto. We’ve returned. Eurobetis is official.
A magical second half to the campaign has been capped off the with news that Betis will be playing Europe League football next year. Monday’s 2-1 win over already-relegated Malaga put us in an unassailable position for 7th placed Getafe, confirming the fantastic news for the club.
This was a game where football was the true winner…and Betis technically.
Excuse the facetiousness but surely a certain amount is allowed after coming out on top of a game like that? It had pretty much everything you would want for in a game of football. Completely none stop action from quite literally the 1st minute to the last of the 95 minutes played, and everything else in between. Eight goals between the teams, both hit the frame of the goal, the crowd were on fire and there was a feistiness between the players on the field with plenty of yellow cards, as you would expect from a gran derbi.
Just before the game last Friday I tweeted about how it would be the first of three consecutive Andalucian derbies for Betis and how I spelled a hat-trick.
Of course I meant a hat-trick of victories; starting with Granada, finishing with Málaga and stuffed in the middle with Seville. I did not in my wildest Betis imagination, even taking into account that Betis can be highly erratic and difficult to predict, envisage being 3-0 down to the leagues second worst offensive outfit!
Víctor and Real Betis started 2017 in perfect fashion with a controlled 2-0 victory over Leganés on Sunday. Let’s hope this is a benchmark for the rest of the season.
The win, courtesy of two second half goals from the ever-green Rubén Castro and unlikely scorer Cristiano Piccini, take Betis to 21 points from 17 games. This doesn’t sound like an awful lot but it is actually one of Betis’ brightest start in recent reasons. In fact over the last 14 years only Lorenzo Serra (2005) and Pepe Mel (2013) have accumulated more points by match day 17.
Since Angel Haro and Jose Catalan were voted in they’ve had an agenda of change and model of restructuring they want to implement to bring this grand club up to date and into the 21st century. We’ve recently had the deal to create Real Betis’ first basketball team after the club decided to rescue the suffering CB Sevilla team. We’ve also had the installation of Betis TV and even the demolition of Gol Sur in anticipation of a bigger and better stand.
Change is also afoot within the management system. In the next few weeks, the club will make a series of changes within their professional management structure with the idea to modernise the club and take us to the next level.
In front of 41,655 people on Saturday night, Real Betis were thoroughly embarrassed as they suffered their worst defeat in La Liga. Ever. In 849 home games Betis have never been beaten more comprehensively.
It was supposed to be a difficult night for under-pressure Madrid; no win since September 18th and an injury crisis to deal with, whereas Betis were pretty much full-strength. It was a case of Zinedine Zidane exacting revenge after Betis halted his winning streak last season when he first took over as manager of Real Madrid.
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!
Yesterday’s match was one of the most enjoyable ones of the season for me. The fans were in jubilant mood, which was buoyed by the team providing some much needed entertainment, especially for the second half.
Getafe started the game with a super intense tempo, knowing full well that their la liga fate was theirs to determine: get a win and they were safe. They pressed high and hard and put Betis under the cosh coming close on a number of occasions. Scepovic really should have scored from a Sarabia cross but his diving header whistled past the post. But Betis resisted and eventually began to get a grip on the game and came close too when Jorge Molina was slipped through gloriously by Dani Ceballos. The man from Alcoy in his last game in green and white saw his name in lights but couldn’t apply the finish. To be fair Guaita stuck out a huge left hand and made a fine save. Betis should have had a penalty with one of the clearest hand balls you’re ever likely to see from Pereira, but protests were ignored by the ref.
I called this game a six-pointer in my preview last week, Rubén Castro said that Betis “have to win” and with three defeats in a row, it was beginning to feel a bit twitchy around the Benito Villamarín.
With over 37,000 fans showing true beticismo creating a superb atmosphere before the game, los verdiblancos ground out a 1-0 win courtesy of the two most important players of the season, those I labelled the ‘two bookends’ in my last post – Rubén Castro and Antonio Adán.
I’m not one to blow my own trumpet, but those of a betting persuasion should have picked up on my hint:
“We know the importance of the game this Saturday, but we are calm, we have to win.”
Rubén Castro knows the importance this weekend’s game against Levante, I think we all do. He actually said “we have to win sí o sí.” In that lovely Spanish phrases which literally means ‘yes or yes’, Betis have no option but to get all three points otherwise they will find themselves firmly in a relegation dog fight again.
A few weeks ago after a six game unbeaten run we all thought another year in La Liga was all but confirmed, now we’ve suffered three defeats on the bounce after last Saturday’s 5-1 hammering away to Atlético Madrid. A draw would have probably been the most we could have asked for in the Vicente Calderon considering that Atlético have the best defence in Europe and Betis have a highly ineffective attack, but this was a battering with the team falling apart after going 1-0 down.