First Division - Day 17

Betis 1 - Villarreal 3

Betis: Contreras; Varela, Juanito, Lembo, Rivas; Ito; Joaquín, Fernando, Capi (Arzu 55'), Ismael (Denilson 55'); Dani (Palermo 67'). 4-1-4-1.
Villarreal: Reina; Quique Alvarez, Ballesteros, Coloccini, Arruabarrena; Guayre (César Arzo 93'), Josico, Riquelme, Roger (Víctor 68'); José Marí, Sonny Anderson (Xisco Nadal 94'). 4-4-2.

Team changes: Betis: Lembo, Fernando for Mingo, Arzu / Villarreal: Coloccini, José Marí for Belletti, Víctor.

0-1. 74. Sonny Anderson. Took Víctor headed pass on left of area and beat keeper.
1-1. 80. Juanito. Header down inside near post from Joaquín corner.
1-2. 89. Guayre. Got on end of Víctor's cross to slide ball into net.
1-3. 92. Guayre. Picked up Víctor's square pass and fired shot into net.

The battle for the fourth Champions' League spot is hotting up, and Villarreal took advantage of Osasuna's defeat to move just behind the Pamplona based side on goal difference after defeating Betis 1-3. Most of the action came in the last twenty minutes of the game, although the visitors could have taken the lead in the first half had Sonny Anderson been more accurate with a couple of chances. The locals were once again showing the alarming lack of form which has only brought them one home win all season, and only Joaquín gave the home fans anything to cheer about.

The introduction of Arzu and in particular Denilson after the break improved things somewhat for the Andalucians, the Brazilian winger at last returning after another injury. But the turning point came when Benito Floro brought on the namesake of his opposite number Víctor Fernández, the ex Spanish international setting up Sonny Anderson for the opener and having a hand in the other two goals later on.

The locals were left with ten men soon after Anderson's goal when Lembo picked up a second booking, but even so Juanito equalised with a header from Joaquín's corner. Ito could have won it for Betis a few minutes later if Reina had not tipped his shot onto the woodwork, and Fernando also missed a chance a minute later. Víctor appeared again though to set up Guayre to score twice in the last four minutes and leave the other Víctor Fernández's job once more hanging by a thread.