Seville derby: A dark day for Real Betis

It may not get the widespread acclaim of El Clásico, but the Seville derby between Real Betis and Sevilla has no less passion than that of the clash between Spain’s two biggest teams.

The sides, both based in the Andalusian city, first played against each other back in February 1915, with the game forced to be abandoned as spectators invaded the pitch with the score at 4-3 to Sevilla.

Since then, violent scenes have marred this passionate derby in the 2000’s, with a game once more forced to be halted and played three weeks later in a neutral venue with no fans.

Of the 114 meetings between the sides before they resumed their rivalry at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán on Sunday, Sevilla had won 51 times in all competitions, Betis on 36 occasions, with the remainder draws.

The latest clash between these two fierce rivals was not short of incident, controversy or goals, as hosts Sevilla romped home 4-0.

The result leaves the visitors rock bottom of the La Liga table and in deep trouble, with the victory all the sweeter for the Los Rojiblancos supporters as a result.

PaulãoThe complexion of the weekend’s clash was altered when Betis defender Paulão saw red towards the end of the first-half, while the game was still tight at 1-0.

The Brazilian’s dismissal led to some of his own fans reportedly racially abusing him with monkey chants as he was given his marching orders, in unforgiveable fashion.

The win lifted Sevilla to eighth place on the table, with goals from Carlos Bacca, Stéphane Mbia, Vitolo and Vicente Iborra completing the victory.

Unai Emery’s men are in something of a transition period, after widespread departures over the course of the summer. Almost €100 million was recouped by the sale of Álvaro Negredo and Jesús Navas to Manchester City, Geoffrey Kondogbia to Monaco, Luis Alberto to Liverpool and Gary Medel to Swansea, amongst others.

The club has reinvested some of this money wisely, and it has Sevilla still looking like an outfit capable of challenging for a top-six place. Attacking pair Bacca and Kévin Gameiro were brought in to parry the blow of Negredo’s departure, Marko Marin has been signed on loan from Chelsea and Argentine midfielder Diego Perotti is in exhilarating form.

Their brightest star this term however has been Ivan Rakitić, who has assumed the role of main playmaker with aplomb. The Croatia international has already scored seven goals for his side this term, laying on six more with assists. Despite the attacking talent to depart the club over the summer, Sevilla have scored the most goals in La Liga, after the top three clubs.

For Betis on the other hand, things are looking distinctly bleak. Two wins and only 12 goals from their opening 14 matches has the Estadio Benito Villamarín outfit on the bottom of the standings, with the team looking distinctly short of confidence and quality.

Like their cross-town rivals, Los Verdiblancos also saw key players depart in the summer, but without the windfall of transfer fees. Integral playmaker Beñat Etxebarria jumped ship to join Athletic Bilbao, while a paltry €500k was all that was received for Swansea-bound duo José Cañas and Alejandro Pozuelo.

A Betis club motto is Viva er Betis manque pierda, or ‘Long live Betis even when they lose’; the fans unfortunately may well have to take solace in this for the majority of the current campaign.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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