Real Betis Balompié were comfortable 3-0 home winners against FK Viktoria Zizkov tonight to seal a 4-0 aggregate victory and a place in the third round of the UEFA Cup.
Fresh from a 1-1 draw with Spanish champions Valencia CF last Saturday, Betis were always in control against their Czech visitors. Their confidence also stemmed from an away goal a fortnight ago scored by Brazilian forward Denilson, who was kept on the bench this time around.
The first half was an untidy affair, with both teams misplacing passes and struggling whenever they crossed halfway. Zizkov had a couple of chances but striker Ludek Stracený and then midfield player Michal Smarda failed to make the most of their openings.
Fernando Varela had looked the likeliest for the hosts but could not find a way through and it was left to Gastón Casas to break the deadlock just before the interval. The ball fell to him in the penalty area and he placed a firm left-foot shot beyond goalkeeper Petr Pizanowski.
Difficult to break down
Betis coach Victor Fernández said: "It may look like an easy win but it wasn't like that. We had to fight hard and even tonight for most of the first half we could not break them down. After the first goal, they had to come out and this gave us more space to play in."
Buoyed by the goal, Betis surged forward looking for more after the restart. They were rewarded when Pizanowski brought down Fernando in the area to give the home side a penalty. Spanish international Joaquín Sánchez stepped up and blasted the ball into the top right-hand corner in the 57th minute before being substituted by Fernández to rest him ahead of Sunday's Primera División game against RC Celta de Vigo.
An excellent night’s work was completed three minutes from time when João Tomas rose highest to head in from a corner. Betis go into the hat and will be a team to be avoided for those hoping to go beyond the third round.
First leg decisive
As for Viktoria, it is back to domestic business. Coach Vitezslav Lavicka reflected: "We lost the tie in the home tie when we had chances but missed them."