First Division - Day 18

Racing Santander 0 - Betis 1

Racing: Lemmens; Pineda, Moratón, Juanma, Sietes; Nafti,Diego Mateo (Matabuena 85'); Munitis (Pablo Lago 75'), Benayoun, Regueiro; Javi Guerrero (Diego Alonso 60'). 4-2-3-1.
Betis: Prats; Varela, Melli, Arzu, Luis Fernández; Marcos Assunçao, Ito; Joaquín, Capi (Joao Tomas 74'), Denilson (César 83'), Gastón Casas (Fernando 65'). 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Racing: Sietes, Nafti, Benayoun, Regueiro for Neru, Ismael, Txiki, Bodipo / Betis: Melli, Ito, Capi, Denilson, Gastón Casas for Juanito, Rivas, Mingo, Fernando, Joao Tomas.

0-1. 92. Joaquín. Headed wide of keeper from Assunçao free kick.

Betis kept in touch with the top four after a 0-1 win at Racing Santander, and they stay in fifth place, two points behind Valencia and Depor. They had to wait until injury time though to steal away the three points, Joaquín heading the ball past Lemmens after defender Sietes could only touch on a Marcos Assunçao free kick.

The first ten minutes were promising, with Prats saving a Regueiro free kick at one end and Casas going wide at the other. With five minutes gone referee Esquinas Torres awarded a penalty to Betis when Nafti pulled back Arzu, but with Casas lining up to take the kick the linesman finally attracted the referee's attention to tell him that there had been a previous offside.

After that though things quietened down, and the only other action before the break was an effort from Capi which Moratón cleared off the line with Lemmens beaten. That was the end of the Betis challenge for the next 45 minutes though, and Racing could have taken the lead had Regueiro not shot wide and substitute Diego Alonso missed a couple of chances, the first saved by Prats and the second a shot on the turn which brushed the bar.

Then came Joaquín's strike, spoiling the day for Racing's new president, Dmitri Piterman, who was in the directors' box for the first time. His side are now down in sixteenth place, only two points off the relegation places, and the flamboyant US businessman is expected to make changes very soon. One may be in the manager's office, where the Ukrainian born Olympic triple jumper could well take over himself, as he did at his previous club, second division B side Palamos. The fireworks are just beginning.