Review: Betis – Sevilla
during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Manchester United and Sevilla FC at Old Trafford on March 13, 2018 in Manchester, United Kingdom.

Great atmosphere, tension, goals, the Andalusian derby had everything. At the end, Betis and Sevilla shared the spoils in a 2-2 draw.

Quique Setien made several changes from the team that lost to Athletic Bilbao. Junior Firpo was injured, so Aissa Mandi took over his spot in the defense. Cristian Tello, Sanabria and Loren were also not included. Instead, Sergio Leon received an opportunity to lead the attack. Antonio Barragan and Andres Guardado were the other different starters. As for Sevilla, Joaquin Capparos didn’t send the same lineup that defeated Real Madrid on Wednesday. Ben Yedder, Muriel, Franco Vazquez, Miguel Layun, Guido Pizarro and Nicolas Pareja were all absent. Sandro Ramirez, Nolito, Banega, Sarabia, Roque Mesa and Simon Kjaer were all players that didn’t feature then, but featured now.

It was a fiesta at Estadio Benito Villamarín in Sevilla, as the fans made sure there was a goose bumps atmosphere before the derby between Betis and Sevilla kicked off. Sevilla didn’t touch the ball for five minutes and it ended in a goal by Marc Bartra’s head from a perfect set piece cross by Joaquin. An ideal start for the home team. Later, the first two yellow cards were exchanged – one for Guardado and the other for Sarabia. In the 24th minute, Lenglet slapped Fabian Ruiz and could’ve easily been sent off. The referee decided to keep the game interesting and awarded him a booking only. Sevilla recuperated after the goal and was taking over control of the encounter.

The road team persisted in its efforts to grab a goal, but was lacking executors in the box. Betis was mostly focusing on counter attacks. Capparos was forced to make his first substitution right before half time. Mercado had to be stretchered off after he suffered a muscular injury. Sevilla’s manager made a radical move by sending Ben Yedder onto the pitch as Mercado’s replacement. The first 45 minutes finished with Betis carrying a 1-0 lead.

Two changes were made at the half. Miguel Layun came in for Pablo Sarabia, whereas Ryan Boudebouz replaced Andres Guardado. It took two minutes in the second period for Sevilla to have the best opportunity in the contest. At the end of the action, Nolito curled a ball from inside the box that went just wide off the far post. The dynamic of the game had flipped by 180 degrees, as Sevilla was dominating everything what was happening.

The fact they couldn’t get to the ball made Betis’ players so nervous that they were making some amateur mistakes. One of them eventually led to Sevilla’s equalizer. It was a strange one as well. Ben Yedder avoided an offside trap and was preparing to shoot when he slipped and fell down. While falling down, it appeared that he touched the ball with his arm. That froze Betis’ defenders for a moment, just enough for him to get up and kick the ball. It deflected off Mandi’s chest back towards goal and Ben Yedder’s exquisite goal sense allowed him to put his foot in front of an unsuspecting defender and push the ball into the net.

Right after that, Quique Setien made another change. Sergio Leon left the pitch, Loren entered it. In the 62nd minute, the newly introduced Loren was free and had an ideal chance to score. Joaquin found him with an exceptional pass, but the youngster showed his inexperience by waiting too long and allowing a Sevilla player to block his shot with a sliding challenge from behind. In the 79th minute, Sandro Ramirez battled for a corner kick that gave Sevilla the lead. Wissam Ben Yeder was at the center of attention again, as his backheel changed the path of the ball right onto Kjaer’s foot. Simon had the easy job of following the ball through the net, which he did.

Two minutes passed and Betis was back into the game, as the guy who had that enormous miss before was the one who levelled the scoring. Loren Moron found a way to put the ball past the goalkeeper while lying on the ground after he had saved the attacker’s initial attempt and we had a tied match once again. The rivalry was justifying its status as such. There were no more significant moments until the end. A matchup that had everything, from great atmosphere, to tension, to goals and turnarounds, finished with the teams sharing the spoils.