Veteran winger Joaquin scored an impressive brace to help Real Betis beat Deportivo 2-1 on Saturday evening.
Real Betis’ first goal came from smart movement from the attacking players. Durmisi moved into the left wing position which took the right back, Juanfran’s attention. Cristian Tello was allowed to drift into the ‘half space’ between the wing and centre of the field where he was given the ball.
Barragan took up a similar position to Durmisi on the right hand side and was given the ball in space. This allowed Joaquin to drift into the centre of the field where he continued his run into the box. Once Barragan crossed the ball toward Sergio Leon, Joaquin was there to gather the ball dropping down following Pantilimon’s save and head it into the back of the net.
Cartabia scored an amazing goal after a volley from Celso Borges was hit off the crossbar. It rebounded out to a Depor player who headed it down to Cartabia, the Argentinian took the ball down, shifted it to his left and fired the ball passed Adan into the bottom corner from 25 yards out.
Up until that point, Betis were in control of the math and had a strong control of the ball also.
Shortly after Cartabia’s golazo, there were calls for Guilherme to be sent off from the 46,000 crowd inside the Estadio Benito Villamarin. The referee decided to give the Brazilian a yellow card in this instance however after he mistimed his sliding tackle form the side.
Cristian Tello was presented with a 5v4 chance after a quick tackle and pass from Narvaez to start a counter attack. The former Barcelona product produced a number of stepovers but instead of looking for a teammate in a better position, he shot wide.
The midfield trio of Navarez, Javi Garcia and Guardado used the ball well in the first half by changing the avenue of attack from left to right regularly. In doing so, they tried to stretch a typically compact Pepe Mel defence.
In attack, Deportivo were frequently found wanting as their Romanian striker And one was isolated at times. Depor did find some joy when they ran at Betis through the middle of the field; where they seemed to be able to create space a lot easier than Setien would like.
Throughout the first half, there were a multitude of misplaced passes by both sides and the game didn’t exactly ‘flow’ due to this and was quiet scrappy in stages.
This scrappiness produced a number of counter attacks, particularly for Real Betis as they stole the ball quiet high up the pitch. The 36 year old and captain Joaquin was presented with an opportunity to score from a header just before half time but didn’t connect well and headed wide from inside 8 yards.
Celso Borges saw an audacious attempt drift over Adan’s goal as he tried to lob the former Real Madrid goalkeeper with a free from inside his own half.
Just before half time, yet again on another break away, Cristian Tello was fed the ball on the right hand side of midfield. He played a long curled pass right on Guardado’s head where he was unable to generate enough direction to beat Costel Pantilimon.
Guardado’s quality of passing was on display again today. He put in a cross onto Sergio Leon’s head nearly straight after the break where Pantilimon touched it around his post for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Real Betis worked the ball into the box and were awarded a penalty from a surge forward from Durmisi. The referee consulted with the official behind the goal however. The referee correctly changed the decision and ended up awarding a free to Deportivo and a yellow card to Durmisi.
Deportivo’s best chance of the second half came from a break away counter attack following a period of ball dominance from Real Betis. They broke away in a 3v3 and Adrian Lopes fed the ball to goalscorer Cartabia where he moved onto his left but couldn’t beat Adan.
A similar situation arose shortly after but Bakkali’s efforts dribbling forward into the box were halted sharply by Feddal as he came out the meet the former Valencia winger to stop a potential 1v1 situation. This was a thunderous, yet fair tackle which ended up with Bakkali going off injured.
The second half was real end-to-end type of game where it became quite open to counter attacks. The winning goal was going to be found and was most likely to come from one of these opportunities.
Andres Guardado dispossessed Real Madrid loanee Fede Valverde, moved with the ball into the Deportivo half and angled a ball between the centre backs for Joaquin to stride onto and tuck away into the corner of the net to gain all 3 points.
This was the first time in 12 years Joaquin has scored a brace for Real Betis in La Liga and his celebration after the goal were not of a 36 year old coming to the end of his career. It is evident that he is the right man to be captain at the club and has a lot of joy playing for the Andalusian outfit.
Further delight for the Betis supporters was on offer today as they got their first glimpse of summer signing Ryad Boudebouz today. The Algerian winger came on for Joaquin with 10 minutes to go.
Some of the standout players today were mainly on the winning side where they controlled 63% of possession. Cristian Tello was impressive throughout and was a constant threat for the Deportivo defence. Joaquin was obviously a standout player due to his 2 goals but Andres Guardado was above both. His use of the ball, weight of passing, composure on the ball and willingness to work both ways shows how important he is to this side. With a 94% pass success rate – he was man of the match today.
Going forward, Real Betis are starting to look like a decent outfit and will have aspirations for Europe. They are beginning to get to grips with Quique Setien’s style of play and have the quality to implement it. At home today, they played out from the back continuously, even under pressure from Deportivo and worked the ball up and across the field at ease.
Deportivo on the other hand, look like they could struggle this year. They certainly have enough quality in their squad and have 3 decent strikers in Andone, Lucas Perez and Adrian Lopes. Where they are going to fall down is with their manager. Pepe Mel has shown in the past that he is more of a motivating styled manager rather than a tactical one.
He would best serve a team by coming in with a few weeks to go in order to avoid relegation rather than attempt to boost a club up the table. Do not expect him to be in charge of the Galician side come the end of this season.