First Division - Day 27

Betis 4 - Celta 1

Betis: Prats; Filipescu, Juanito, Rivas, Luis Fernández (Mingo 67'); Ito, Benjamín; Joaquín (Cañas 70'), Capi, Denilson ; Dani (Amato 83'). 4-2-3-1.
Celta: Cavallero; Coira, Cáceres, Sergio, Sylvinho; Doriva, Giovanella (Edu 46'); Karpin, Mostovoi, Jesuli (Gustavo López 58'); Maurice (Catanha 64'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Betis: Filipescu, Luis Fernández, Ito for Cañas, Mingo, Merino / Celta: Coira, Doriva, Karpin, Maurice for Yago, Luccin, Edu, Catanha.

1-0. 25. Denilson (penalty). After Cáceres hacked down Dani on edge of area.
2-0. 38. Rivas. Header on goal-line after Juanito flicked on Denilson free kick.
3-0. 54. Ito. Beat keeper from close up after Capi squared in from right.
3-1. 66. Edu. Shot under keeper after Sylvinho laid ball in from left of area.
4-1. 90. Amato (penalty). After Segio tripped Amato as he advanced on goal.

A thrilling game at Betis, where the home side ran out 4-1 winners against Celta to move up to third in the table. Juande Ramos has put together a young side capable of taking on the best, and they have now gone eight games without defeat since the second half of the season began. Despite the return to fitness of Amato and Joao Tomas, Ramos decided not to change his side around too much, leaving B team striker Dani up front. It proved to be a good decision as the youngster got stuck in right from the start, and he won a penalty midway through the half which Denilson converted for the opening goal. Mostovoi could have equalised though shortly afterwards when he hesitated too long in front of goal, and the Russian midfielder got in the way of another shot from Jesuli. However Betis went further in front when Rivas made sure with a header on the goal line as Juanito's shot was going in the net.

Víctor Fernández had changed his side around after only picking up two points from their last three games, leaving Catanha, Edu and Gustavo López on the bench and giving French striker Maurice a run out up front. At half time he brought on Edu, but with Denilson in inspired form Betis continued to pile on the pressure. Ten minutes in to the half Ito made it three after good work by Dani and Capi, and a desperate Víctor made his last two substitutions. For a while it seemed to be working, and Edu got a goal back after Sylvinho set him up. But then Celta were left with ten men after Pérez Burrull gave Karpin a second caution, and substitute Amato won his side another penalty when Sergio rashly kicked out at him. Benjamín wanted to take the kick, but Amato held on to the ball and after a heated exchange scored from the spot himself.

As the game went in to injury time, a frustrated Mostovoi lost his cool and got himself sent off for throwing the ball at the referee, who ended the day showing eight yellows and two reds, all to the visitors. Celta drop to sixth, and wth Cáceres and Doriva both on a suspension for accumulation of yellow cards it looked at one point as if the Gallicians would be missing four men for their next game with Real Madrid. However the disciplinary committee upheld the appeals for Mostovoi and Cáceres, and they at least will be present. They need them if they are not to lose touch with the leaders, although in reality there are still only five points between the top seven, and a victory would take them to within a point of Madrid. As they say, a week can be a long time in football.