Real Betis and Eibar are two La Liga teams hoping to progress this season and challenge for European qualification. Their match on Friday 4th October was always going to be an important fixture, and the points on offer could be worth a lot to either team in May.
Betis’ last match was a 5-1 away drubbing at the hands of Villareal, and they were surely hoping to bounce back with a home win. Eibar were the side that had won its last two games; including a 3-2 thriller at home to Sevilla. This game was destined to be full of action.
The Pre-Match Build Up
It was an evening kick-off at the Benito Villamarin, and both teams came out eager to put on a positive display for a full stadium of fans.
Betis’ big summer signing, Nabil Fekir, was sadly sidelined for this game, suffering from a muscle problem. He came into the squad in the summer with a €22 million transfer from Lyon. Betis had a big transfer budget between seasons after signing a shirt sponsorship deal with easyMarkets, an online broker, and selling their first-choice goalkeeper Pau Lopez to Roma for €23.5 million.
The Eibar side lined up much as they had at Sevilla, with playmaker Fabian Orellana nestling in the hole behind lone striker Quique Gonzalez in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The First Half – Eibar Get a Goal and Collect Cards
Eibar set the tone of the match early, with a cheap foul by left-back Pedro Bigas earning a yellow card in the 9th minute. This was a taste of things to come from Eibar.
It was a Betis foul that led to Eibar’s first-half goal, however, with Sergio Canales picking up a yellow card to gift Eibar a penalty. Fabian Orellana crisply finished from the spot with a strike low and to the left of Betis keeper Joel Robles. After 34 minutes, Betis were 1-0 down.
The Second Half – Betis Respond and Eibar’s Discipline Deteriorates
Eibar substituted the carded Pedro Bigas at the start of the second half, but sadly this didn’t change the tone of their game. Rash challenges still continued, and it was a foul that led to the Betis equalizer.
Midfielder Gonzalo Escalante’s rough tackle gave Real Betis the breakthrough they needed, with Loren Moron getting on the end of a beautifully floated ball that Marc Bartra sent into the six-yard box. From that point on Betis looked like they knew they could win this game, and the tempo of the match increased.
Sadly, after 25 minutes of end-to-end football, all that resulted was a number of bookings for both sides, including a 91st-minute second yellow card for Gonzalo Escalante and his sending off. Betis should have done better with the time they had left.
Overall, a draw seems a fair result for this tie. Both teams have a lot of work to do if they are going to climb the table before the end of the season.
Out of the two teams, Real Betis look like a side worth watching this season, with some excellent passing play and attacking build up in the second half. If they can find some consistency and keep some clean sheets, they could be challenging for a top-six finish in the new year.