First Division - Day 13

Betis 1 - Athletic Bilbao 0

Betis: Prats; Varela, Juanito, Rivas, Luis Fernández; Marcos Assunçao, Ito (Arzu 69'); Joaquín, Fernando (Capi 53'), Denilson; Casas (Alfonso 53'). 4-2-3-1.
Athletic: Lafuente; Javi González, Murillo, Lacruz, Larrazábal; Gurpegui, Alkiza; Joseba Etxeberría (Arriaga 65'), Tiko (Julen Guerrero 80'), Ezquerro (Yeste 55'); Urzaiz. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Betis: Ito, Fernando, Casas for Arzu, Capi, Alfonso / Athletic: Tiko for Arriaga.

1-0. 74. Marcos Assunçao. Struck free kick over wall and into roof of net.

No doubt who many people feel is the best signing of the season, Marcos Assunçao. The Brazilian midfielder struck for the third time this season with another breathtaking free kick which gave Betis a 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao. The ex Roma star has already made the difference in several games this season with his dead ball kicks, and this time he left Lafuente clutching at air fifteen minutes from the end of this match.

Up to that point Betis had been given the run-around by the Basque side, who were much fresher than Víctor Fernández's men, tired after their UEFA cup tie on Thursday evening. The manager had given a rest to Capi and Alfonso, both nursing slight injuries, but their replacements Fernando and Casas could not find a way through, and Urzaiz came close to giving the visitors the lead when alone in front of Prats.

The only reply from Betis in the first half was a Luis Fernández free kick which sailed over the bar just before the break, and Víctor had to risk bringing on Capi and Alfonso soon after the restart. Bilbao should have gone ahead though when Alkiza was adjudged to have been fouled by Ito in the penalty area, but having scored twice from the spot in the last two games, Larrazábal put his kick wide.

After Assunçao's goal, Jupp Heynckes turned to Julen Guerrero to try and save his four match unbeaten run. But it was Urzaiz who almost saved his side a point with an injury time header which Prats somehow managed to turn onto the post. Betis held on though to take a welcome win after two defeats in a row, and they ended the weekend back up in fifth spot. Athletic stay in eleventh place.