All Square between Betis and Sevilla
Betis Dominate Sevilla – A Tactical Analysis
Manuel Pellegrini’s Betis set up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation. On the eve of the match, the Green and Whites suffered key absences with their talisman Joaquín, Mexican international Andrés Guardado and former Brighton and Hove Albion man Martin Montoya all testing positive for coronavirus. In came Mexican winger Diego Lainez and striker Loren Morón to cope with the absences.
For Sevilla, Julian Lopetegui’s side formed a 4-3-3 formation with Nemanja Gudelj replacing the suspended Fernando and Luuk de Jong getting the nod up front. Also, defensive duo Diego Carlos and Jules Koundé formed their formidable defensive partnership.
Betis Fluid Sevilla Fragile
The grudge match, known as ‘El Gran Derbi‘, pitted the dominant European kings Sevilla against the irregular Real Betis. However, it was Real Betis who turned the tables to produce a confident and fluid performance with more assuredness on and off the ball.
On the other hand, Sevilla were lacklustre and very ineffective for most of the contest. It was a surprise to see the team so disorganised and disjointed with many players giving possession away cheaply.
The Key Men in the Betis Sevilla Derby – Sergio Canales
Crucial to the home side was the form of midfield maestro Sergio Canales, who bossed the match with a confident performance. Playing in a more defensive role as one of the two defensive screens for Betis, he produced an accomplished performance with pinpoint passes and effective interceptions.
Canales was the overall metronome of the team and was at the heart of all meaningful play. He successfully converted the Betis penalty to bring parity to the scoreline and was thoroughly deserving of his man of the match performance.
Another standout performer for Real Betis was Diego Lainez. Brought to the club from Club America in January 2019, he has struggled to get to grips with the rigours of La Liga football. But, he shone in the derby with his best performance in Betis colours.
His trickery with the ball had Sevilla’s defenders constantly thinking. He also showed more effective decision making qualities. He demonstrated an end product too, which has been sorely missing from his game. Most of Betis’ attacks included his presence and shone from his right-wing role – cutting in on his favoured left foot with sprinting runs and verticle passes.
Therefore it was a coming of age performance, such was his confidence, personality and maturity.
Sevilla’s main highlights were the form of Nemanja Gudelj, who patrolled the midfield with aplomb. Also, he gave some stability to an unstable and off colour Sevilla. He marshalled and nullified Betis’ threat in the most dangerous areas of the pitch and produced a composed performance in the heart of a three-man midfield.
Defender Jules Koundé was another performer who was on top form. He was the general of the team’s backline alongside Diego Carlos. Although Betis dominated possession and chances, it was the Frenchman who won the battle, keeping the likes of Nabil Fekir at bay.
Derby Day Verdict
Real Betis dominated the match from start to finish, showing much more attacking threat. Their 12 shots to five demonstrated the ascendancy the home side had, particularly in the first half. Similarly, their performance was more polished and will be rueing their first-half chances and the missed Fekir penalty in the second half.
Sevilla never sparked into life and only made their presence felt in the final 20 minutes. They lacked the vibrancy of their eternal neighbours.
Another lacking quality was the supporters – the heartbeat of football dearly missed in Spanish football’s most flamboyant and colourful derby.
Nonetheless, it was a fascinating watch which ended honours even.