Betis claim away win at Zaragoza

Ruben Castro and Jorge Molina netted either side of the break to

give Real Betis a perfect start to the new year with a 2-1 win at

Real Betis.

Betis are in the hunt for a return to European competition next

season and they looked on course to strengthen their position when

Castro slotted home against the run of play a minute before


Molina doubled their advantage just before the hour mark and

although Paco Montanes pulled one back, Pepe Mel’s side hung on to

go level on points with fourth-placed Malaga after their third away

victory in four matches.

Both sides still seemed to be in winter break mode in a tepid

opening with neither team fashioning any chances in the opening

half hour.

The game sprang to life when the hosts wasted two clear chances

to break the deadlock.

First Helder Postiga, having rounded goalkeeper Adrian, was

denied from slotting into an empty net by Betis defender Mario,

while Alvaro Gonzalez headed narrowly wide from Antonio Apon’s

free-kick almost immediately afterwards.

And the Seville-based club took full advantage of those let-offs

by taking the lead on the stroke of half-time, with Castro beating

the offside trap to latch onto Benat’s defence-splitting pass and

place under Zaragoza keeper Roberto.

Javier Chica’s long range strike stung the palms of Roberto

before Betis went further ahead in the 58th minute.

Zaragoza defender Alvaro Gonzalez’s attempted clearance was

intercepted by Molina, who twisted and turned on the edge of the

area before placing into the net.

Roberto kept Zaragoza in the game with a wonderful double save

from Castro – parrying the striker’s first effort and then denying

him at the second attempt.

It proved invaluable for Zaragoza, who halved the deficit

through Montanes’ fine 20-yard strike in the 77th minute.

The 26-year-old’s efforts were in vain as although the hosts

pressed frantically for a leveller, they came away empty-handed for

the third successive match at La Romareda.