- Purists - including Sevilla center back Simon Kjaer - will argue that the Seville derby is the most passionate match in La Liga, absent of the corporate and television influences of El Clasico. The excitement on the field has matched the intensity in the stadium in recent matches, including a 5-3 Betis win last season in which Quique Setien’s side scored off the opening kickoff.
- The two sides come into the match in contrasting places after two matches. Setien is already under pressure after a summer of rising expectations and high priced signings building off last season’s Europa League qualifying campaign. Despite their usual possession stats, Betis have yet to score through two matches. He said that he would “settle for a 2-1 and suffer” in this derby.
- Sevilla meanwhile are in fourth place under new manager Pablo Machin. Signed from the overachieving Girona side over the summer, Sevilla seek the stability they’ve lacked since Jorge Sampaoli left for Argentina two seasons ago. After four seasons with Unai Emery, the club are with their fourth manager in three seasons.
- Each side closed the transfer window with an important addition. Sevilla added the highly rated, 26-year-old winger Quincy Promes. Promes, who was the best player in the Russian Premier League and a perennial transfer target for clubs in the top four European leagues, scored 59 goals in 115 appearances for Spartak Moscow. Betis, meanwhile, added another center midfielder in a loan move for Giovani Lo Celso from PSG.
- The pre-match broadcast puts Sevilla in a 3-4-3 formation and Betis in a 3-5-2. Yet the shape will be malleable as Betis move players in and out of position with the ball.
- The atmosphere at the Estadio Benito Villamarín is stunning.
- A quick note: the introduction of VAR into La Liga has already had a tangible effect with Karim Benzema’s headed goal against Leganes originally waved off by the ref but reversed through video review.
- William Carvalho and Sergio Canales are both active in the midfield to begin the match. There is a beauty about Betis working the ball sideline to sideline in this atmosphere as no team absolutely insists on walking in a goal like Setien’s group.
- In regards to not having scored a goal all season, Betis have no issues moving the ball and creating space in front of goal. The finishing however, is a different story and perhaps they should have added another goalscorer in the transfer window.
- The much-maligned but still just 22-year-old Andre Silva is very, very active for Sevilla early in going 1 v 1 against Marc Bartra.
- With Betis holding possession, Sevilla can counter attack through Mesa and Banega’s quick passes. Machin’s side have a 3-4-3 shape defensively with specific attention paid to Betis’ wingers.
- VAR comes into play with Canales goal called back for offsides. In lieu of a poacher, Canales’ power and drive up the middle is adding incisiveness and directness to Betis’ usual possession.
- The first half ends 0-0. If the battle is between Betis’ possession against Sevilla’s pressing, the away side won the first half. Sevilla doing well in causing turnovers in the middle third and launching counter attacks directly to Silva lead by Banega and Mesa’s accurate passes.
- As we move into the second half, the only moments Sevilla find themselves in trouble is when they get caught in possession in their own half.
- While Mesa earned his second yellow card for impeding Betis keeper Pau Lopez (he earned a yellow card for a challenge on Carvalho in the first half), Lopez certainly made sure to redirect his path into Mesa with the referee watching on.
- Despite being a man down, Sevilla are still applying pressure on Betis’ defense. Machin switched to a four defender backline for security.
- A 0-0 draw is a result for Sevilla and Setien desperately needs three points from this match. As such, Joaquin’s directness comes on at the sake of Carvalho’s positional security.
- Of course, Joaquin would score the decisive goal. Betis ping the ball from sideline to sideline, resulting in center back Aissa Mandi receiving the ball in the right half space for a pinpoint far post ball for Joaquin’s late run. Sevilla right back Jesus Navas, listed at 5-7, had no chance covering the cross.
- We finally get to see Promes as Machin subs him on to retrieve a goal through his individual ability.
- The eight added minutes of injury time is appropriate considering the intensity of the match, although Sevilla never were able to launch one final wave of pressure as Betis win their first home derby match in 12 years.
- It may be an over-exaggeration to say that the result saved Setien’s job, but he badly, badly needed these points. Betis finished the match with 62% possession and nearly doubled Sevilla with 436 completed passes.
- Afterwards, Joaquin described scoring a goal against Sevilla at home as every Betis fan’s dream. Machin shifted the focus to the referee not using VAR to review Mesa’s red card as each side head into the international break.
La Liga Match Abstract: Real Betis 1, Sevilla 0