Two goal-scorers, Raul & Forlán. Crucial win lifts Los Colchoneros to Champions.
Thoroughly deserved victory. It was a game that we dominated from start to finish, although the 2nd half was brutal. And by ‘brutal’ I mean downright ugly. In other words, we invited unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Nevertheless, we remained focused enough to secure the victory. Raul’s goal was icing on the cake.
STARTING 11: Leo Franco (Abbiati, 86´); Antonio López; Pablo; Eller; Pernía; Raúl García; Maniche; Maxi Rodríguez; Reyes (Simao, 62’); Agüero (Motta, 69’); Forlán
92′ Raúl García
Real Betis are a limited, woeful team with very little quality & practically no creativity. There were only three maybe four occasions where I felt they had an opportunity to equalise. Those occasions aside, Betis did not look like they were going to get anything out of the game.
REVIEWS OF PLAYERS
-Leo Franco had an incredibly good game, making a double save against Betis’ only real attack in the entire game. It’s unfortunate that he was subbed out with an injury. More on that if it is severe.
-Pernía played surprisingly well as left-back, I thought. He made a few unnecessary mistakes, but overall, it was a decent display by the Argentine.
-Pablo had a solid performance, although I thought that his yellow card could have easily been a red card had it been a harsher ref. Either way, this means he will serve a suspension for our next game, home to Getafe.
-Eller. I’d never thought I’d say this, but the Brasilian actually had a good game. It was far from sparkling, but it was efficient and not as sloppy as his previous performances.
-Antonio López played as right-back and struggled in the 1st half– the Spaniard truly had a difficult time controlling play at that end- in fact, many of Betis’ runs came from the right. He redeemed himself in the 2nd half with an improved, composed performance. Far from perfect, but efficient, for the most part.
-Maniche & Raúl García controlled that central midfield area. Class performances by both midfielders, particularly Raúl, our most consistent player. It was great to see him add another goal to his tally. Easily my favourite new signing.
-Reyes. Hm. Leivinha wrote a little critique of him in the below entry. I found that the ex-Sevilla midfielder was very industrious in the first half & was unfortunate to be targetted by many of the Betis players. The Spanish commentator on GolTV rightly pointed out that there seems to be a rift between Reyes & Forlan as Reyes tends to waste great attacking opportunities by shooting at goal from long distances. I can’t blame the Uruguayo if he is indeed frustrated with Reyes being wasteful.
I found that Reyes disappeared in the 2nd half & was deservedly subbed out. I agree with Leivinha in that he has a foul attitude when he is replaced. He had this sarcastic smirk on his face.
I would have preferred Simao to start than Reyes. Not only does he have great technical ability & vision, but the Portuguese midfielder is a ‘team player’.
-Maxi had a fairly good game, although he disappeared for moments at a time. At the end of the day, his presence on the pitch adds a certain amount of balance into our game.
-Forlán. As far as I’m concerned, he did his job– scored the opening goal with absolute class. Did anyone feel that he disappeared for long spells of the game? I honestly don’t mind, as long as he reappears for goal-scoring opportunities. Good game for the Uruguasho.
-Kun- I cringed a bit when Aguirre subbed him out for Motta; it seemed risky & far too defensive a change at that point. Remember what happened when we played against Murcia? Aguirre subbed out Kun for a defensive player when we were winning 0-1…it, unfortunately, ended as a draw.
I suppose the decision to sub him out wasn’t entirely bad: I continue to remind myself that Kun has been playing practically non-stop since the summer. He’s a professional, but still a young guy and that amount of playing does take its toll out on a player.
-Motta was, again, quite impressive. It’s wonderful to have him back & fully fit. With Pablo out with suspension next week, he will surely receive more playing time.
Aguirre didn’t want to comment on Motta’s performance against Aberdeen, but he has broken the silence in his post-game interview tonight: he has praised Motta for adding much needed ‘security’ to the side.
-Simao. He didn’t have much time to make his mark in the game, but whenever he is on the pitch, he always tries his best & is always a threat to the opposition.
All in all, I’m thrilled with the win and the fact that we are back in Champions contention. It is also great that the Barcelona derby ended as a draw; that Villarreal lost to Valladolid; and that woeful Valencia lost to Athletic Bilbao!
Next three games:
5-December: away to FC Copenhagen (UEFA)
9-December: home to Getafe (Liga)
12-December: away to Granada (Copa del Rey)