El Gran Derbi. It needs no introduction. Needless to say, the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán was in fine voice ahead of what may be the most important game of the season.
Real Betis started the game on the front foot with early chances falling to Isco and Rodriguez, but both shot straight at Dmitrovic. Isco’s first-minute header in particular was a huge let off.
On the 15-minute mark, Bellerin thought he had put the away side ahead, but his deflected effort was later ruled out by VAR for an offside in the build-up. While we may have been fortunate on this occasion, fans within the Sánchez-Pizjuán had reason to feel a little frustrated with the match officials ten minutes later. Djibril Sow went down in the penalty area having been pushed in the back by a Betis defender, but referee Jesús Gil Manzano waved play on.
The next big chance fell to the away side. Isco’s cross from the right-hand side found a sliding Miranda at the back post. Dmitrovic made a fine reflex save to deny Miranda, who then put the rebound over the bar. The linesman then flagged for offside, but Dmitrovic wasn’t to know.
The teams entered the break with the score still goalless. While we controlled the majority of the first-half possession, we struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities. The chances fell to the away side, but good defensive work ensured that we reached half-time level.
We started the second half with intent; a long throw-in reached En-Nesyri after only 30 seconds of play, but the Moroccan could not keep his header down.
With both teams looking to break the deadlock, the game became an open, even contest. Gudelj, Pedrosa and En-Nesyri all had chances in good positions, but Betis keeper Vieites remained untroubled. At the other end, Dmitrovic made a smart save to deny Ayoze Pérez, who also clipped the edge of the post with an effort from the edge of the box.
However it was third-time lucky for Pérez, who put the away side ahead in the 72nd minute. The ball was crossed in from the right, but Dmitrovic could only punch as far as Pérez, who tucked it into the bottom corner.
Rakitic scored a rocket into the top-left corner, chaos unleashed at the Sánchez-Pizjuán.
1-0 down but not ready to give up yet, we looked to get back on level terms instantly, Badé coming close with a header that was well saved. However, Betis’s lead only lasted six minutes thanks to a Rakitic screamer. Our number 10 picked up the ball on the edge of the box and unleashed a rocket into the top-left corner. Chaos unleashed at the Sánchez-Pizjuán.
In pursuit of a winner, chances fell to both sides. Substitute Henrique came close for the vistors while Suso forced Vieites to make an impressive, diving stop. Gudelj had an effort from distance in injury time which whistled past the post, but it wasn’t to be.
With both sides unable to find a winning goal, the referee brought the game to an end. Full time 1-1. A Derbi-day draw.
1. SEVILLA FC: Dmitrovic, Jesús Navas (Juanlu 86'), Badé, Gudelj, Pedrosa, Soumaré, Sow (Mariano 86'), Rakitic, Ocampos (Suso 72'), Ó. Torres (Lukebakio 61'), En-Nesyri.
1. REAL BETIS: Vieites, Bellerín, Pezzella, Riad, Miranda (Abner 63'), Guido, Marc Roca, Isco, Diao (Abde 63'), Ayoze, Willian José (Luiz Henrique 75').
GOALS: 0-1 Ayoze (72'). 1-1 Rakitic (78').
REFEREE: Jesús Gil Manzano.
YELLOW CARDS: Gudelj, Miranda.