Real Betis Balompié disregarded their domestic travails with a 2-0 win at FC Rubin Kazan, securing a 3-1 aggregate success and a UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie against city rivals Sevilla FC.
Betis, who surrendered a 1-0 lead in last week's round of 32 first leg despite having an extra man for more than an hour, were far slicker throughout. They deservedly prevailed and set up a courtesy of Nono's long-range strike and Rubén Castro's splendid lob.
Gabriel Calderón's team are 11 points from safety in Spain, but Rubin have played only once since mid-December and appeared to lack the sharpness of their visitors. The first case in point came on 25 minutes, when a free-kick from the left found its way into the penalty area and Betis defender Jordi reacted first, controlling, swivelling on the spot and poking against a post.
Cedric was then denied by Sergei Ryzhikov having wriggled free down Betis's inside-left channel, but Rubin's experienced goalkeeper was beaten four minutes later when Nono's effort squirmed through his grasp and over the line.
It took just under an hour for the Russian hosts to carve out their first clear opening. Kamil Mullin was the architect with a surging run and cutback, Gökdeniz Karadeniz the beneficiary, but his attempt was deflected behind. Five minutes later, Betis were two up. Léo Baptistão tip-toed his way through and played in Rubén Castro, who scooped impudently – at an outrageous trajectory – over Ryzhikov.
Though Ryzhikov prevented a third with a superb save to keep out Juanfran, Betis had done enough.
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