The first leg of Copa del Rey last 16 between Real Betis and Sevilla finished with a 2-0 win for the guests, who head into the second leg with a healthy advantage as they look to qualify for the next round.
Powerless start by the Beticos
Before the match, Betis confirmed that central defenders Heiko Westermann and Bruno would be absent, meaning coach Pepe Mel had to change his plans again, after he already did against SD Eibar last weekend, where both central defenders also missed out with injuries.
The guests, on the other hand, went into this meeting without any doubts and coach Unai Emery brought his best team with a few rotations.
Referee Carlos del Cerro Grande, from Madrid, blew the starting whistle punctually and the guests showed instantly that they wanted to improve ontheir last meeting with Betis two weeks ago, which ended with a hard-fought 0-0 draw at Estadion Benito Villamarin.
The Sevillistas had the better start in this derby, but Betis 'keeper Dani Gimenez had no problems with two corners and one free-kick in the opening stages. The hosts, on the other hand, made a timid impression and needed a long time to find a way into this game.
In the 13th minute, Michael Krohn-Dehli put the team ahead after an easy solo run through the defence. Alfred N'Diaye and Cristiano Piccini put no pressure on the Dane, and Betis' goalkeeper had no chance to save the powerful and well-placed shot from the left-midfielder.
Sevilla gave Betis some more space after the goal, meaning they got into the game a little more, but, despite that, the Green-Whites couldn't radiate danger on Sevilla 'keeper Sergio Rico. The atmosphere in the stadium vanished as a result - the away fans were happy with the scoreline and the home fans were the exact opposite, with many whistles, murmurs and boos coming from the crowd.
Pepe Mel decided to bring in crowd favourite Joaquin in the 35th minute for Petros - the 52-year-old coach wanting more power on the wing to get an equaliser. However, instead, Betis were lucky that the guests didn't score one or two more goals before the break.
Second half picks up where the first left off
Only four minutes after half time, Betis showed once again that they have too many problems in defence as Ever Banega knocked a free-kick into the area and, after the hosts failed to clear their lines, Polish midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak tapped the ball into Gimenez' goal, extending the lead to 2-0.
Betis just didn't find a way into this meeting and were lucky that Sevilla only managed two goals. Pepe Mel's changes of Joaquin and Ruben Castro were not successful, with the latter even putting a penalty high and wide of the target 10 minutes from time.
Their misery was compounded when N'Diaye received his second yellow of the day before the final whistle, with the hosts finishing the game with 10 men and two goals down heading into the second leg.
The guests, on the other hand, can be pleased with this result, but could have definitely score more goals against this weak Real Betis side. Still, a surprise by the Green-Whites in the second leg to punish them for this is heavily unlikely.
Could this be the end for Mel?
This match was the seventh without a win for Pepe Mel's team and brought with it another bad performance by the players.
The coach may have lost the faith of the fans and this loss seems like it will lead to their elimination from the Copa del Rey. The 52-year-old coach has a difficult time with Betis and need to bring more points in to save the club from the relegation, if they still want him in the dugout that is.