First Division - Day 31

Betis 2 - Sevilla 1

Betis: Contreras; Melli, Rivas, Juanito, Oscar López; Arzu, Marcos Assunçao (Miguel Angel 84'); Varela (Rivera 62'), Edu, Joaquín; Robert (Dani 87'). 4-2-3-1.
Sevilla: Palop; Daniel Alves, Javi Navarro, Escudé (Luis Fabiano 81'), David (Adriano 46'); Jesús Navas, Renato, Martí (Maresca 62'), Antonio Puerta; Saviola, Kanouté. 4-4-2.

Team changes: Betis: Juanito, Oscar López, Marcos Assunçao for Luis Fernández, Rivera, Xisco / Sevilla: Martí, Saviola, Kanouté for Jordi, Jesuli, Luis Fabiano.

1-0. 16. Robert (penalty). After Robert himself tripped by David inside penalty area.
1-1. 29. Saviola. Struck low shot on turn after Puerta header came back off bar.
2-1. 44. Varela. Connected with loose ball on edge of area to shoot wide of Palop.

Betis came out on top against city rivals Sevilla with a 2-1 win which takes them further away from the danger zone. With no distractions now from European competitions, Serra Ferrer's side can finally concentrate on the task of staying up in the top flight, whereas the visitors came in to the game in the middle of a UEFA cup quarter final with Russian side Zenit. Nevertheless the first chances of the game fell to Sevilla, with Escudé and Renato going close.

Betis felt they were unlucky though not to be awarded a penalty by referee Iturralde González when Edu was felled by Escudé in the area, but soon afterwards Iturralde did point to the spot after Robert was tripped by David, the Brazilian striker himself converting the kick. The lead lasted less than a quarter of an hour though, Saviola the quickest to react after Antonio Puerta headed an Alves cross against the bar, the Argentine forward picking up the rebound and beating Contreras with a shot on the turn.

Saviola could have added a second a couple of minutes before the break when he beat the offside trap only to be foiled by Contreras, but before the half time whistle Varela put the hosts ahead when he curled a left foot shot wide of Palop after Escudé could only partly clear a cross from the left. Contreras saved again from Saviola soon after the restart, and Palop was also in action at the other end to tip a header from Edu over the bar.

The game ended in controversy though when Iturralde waved away a penalty appeal by Sevilla after Saviola was brought down by Oscar López in the area. But the three points stayed at home, and the visitors' push for a place in the Champions League took a step backwards.