First Division - Day 32

Rayo Vallecano 0 - Betis 0

Rayo: Imanol Etxeberria; Ferrón, Corino, De Quintana, Graff; Pablo Sanz (Vivar Dorado 80'), Quevedo; Peragón, Glaucio, Michel; Bolic (Bolo 75'). 4-2-3-1.
Betis: Prats; Filipescu, Juanito, Rivas, Luis Fernández; Ito (Merino 78'), Benjamín; Joaquín, Capi, Denilson (Belenguer 92'); Dani (Joao Tomas 78'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Rayo: Pablo Sanz, Glaucio for Hernández, Azkoitia / Betis: Denilson for Cañas.

Goals: None.

Report by C.P.Rune

With a game next week against their big city rivals Real Madrid, Rayo Vallecano needed three points at home to the second meanest defence in the league to keep alive their hopes of survival in the top flight. Betis had only conceded 26 goals in the previous 31 matches so it was always going to be tight.

So it proved in a scrappy first half littered with free kicks, some within shooting distance of the goal but none remotely looking like troubling the keepers. The two best chances, one for either side, came from very similar build ups with clever balls slipped inside the full back for wide players advancing into the box. For Rayo it was Peragón rampaging down the right side who got a clear sight of Prats in the Betis goal but the keeper stood up and blocked a strong shot. 10 minutes later Denilson repeated the move from Joaquin´s astute pass, this time on the left hand side of the Rayo area, his low shot from a tight angle was goal bound but a fine save by Etxeberria diverted the ball past the post.

The second half continued much as the first with defences on top, although Joaquín did hit the bar with a free kick and referee Muñiz Fernández turned down Rayo's appeal for a penalty by Rivas on Bolic. The game opened up in the last 10 minutes as Rayo threw everything forward in search of the three points so vital for their survival. They should have scored the winner with 4 minutes to go when a ball slipped into the right side of the Betis area was coolly chipped by Glaucio past the advancing Prats for Michel to slide it into the net. Although TV pictures confirmed that Michel was not beyond the last defender, the linesman made himself the least popular man in that part of Madrid by raising his flag and the goal was disallowed.

The final whistle was greeted with a crescendo of boos from the home fans as they looked nervously for the other results knowing that this was two points lost rather than one gained. Muñiz Fernández and his assistants needed a police escort to leave the pitch.