First Division - Day 31

Athletic Bilbao 3 - Betis 1

Athletic: Aranzubia; Javi González, Karanka, Aitor Ocio, Del Horno (Larrazábal 90'); Gurpegui, Alkiza; Etxeberría (Arriaga 49'), Ezquerro, Yeste (Julen Guerrero 85'); Urzaiz. 4-2-3-1.
Betis: Prats; Varela, Juanito, Rivas, Luis Fernández (Mingo 40', Cañas 62'); Arzu, Marcos Assunçao; Joaquín, Capi, Benjamín (Alfonso 46'); Fernando. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Athletic: Aitor Ocio, for Luis Prieto, / Betis: Rivas, Marcos Assunçao, Fernando for Filipescu, Ito, Dani.

0-1. 26. Fernando. Headed corner from Joaquín down past Aranzubia.
1-1. 35. Etxeberría. Shot from close up after Urzaiz headed back González corner.
2-1. 42. Urzaiz. Headed past Prats from long Yeste cross.
3-1. 45. Ezquerro. Following up after Prats saved shot from Yeste.

Athletic Bilbao join the group of teams fighting for the last UEFA spot after beating Betis 3-1 on Saturday evening. All four goals came in an exciting first half, with the Andalucians taking the lead when makeshift centre forward Fernando headed Joaquín's corner past Aranzubia. Etxeberría made it all square though when Urzaiz headed on a Javi González corner, and Urzaiz himself put the Basques in front with another header three minutes from half time following Yeste's cross. And before the referee could blow the half time whistle, Ezquerro got a third when Prats could only push away Yeste's shot.

Víctor Fernández brought on Alfonso at the break for his second appearance since returning from injury, and Betis pushed forward looking to come back into the game. But Aranzubia was on great form ,and he made two spectacular saves, first of all getting a hand to Fernando's header and then blocking a shot from Capi. Jupp Heynckes' side move up to within a point of their opponents, and at the end of the weekend only two points separated seven teams fighting for that cherished sixth position in the table, gateway to European football next season.