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Last-gasp Chuli sends Betis clear at the top

Vitória SC 0-1 Real Betis Balompié
Chuli scored deep into added time to secure a narrow success for Pepe Mel's men and send the Spanish side two points clear at the top of Group I.

Betis' Caro rises highest to win the aerial battle against Guimarães
Betis' Caro rises highest to win the aerial battle against Guimarães ©AFP/Getty Images

Real Betis Balompié took a major step towards the knockout phase as a 94th-minute strike from substitute Chuli snatched all three points against Vitória SC in Portugal.

After a game of few chances, it appeared Pepe Mel's men would remain level with Olympique Lyonnais in Group I, a point above Guimarães, but Chuli's added-time intervention secured Betis a two-point lead in the group. The hosts did not do enough to find a way past Stephan Andersen and remain third, a point shy of Lyon.

Having leapfrogged Guimarães with another 1-0 win in Spain two weeks ago, Betis were keen to stretch their advantage and went on the front foot in the early stages, with Xavi Torres skimming an effort just over Douglas' bar.

The home side were being kept at arm's length by the men from Seville, as André Santos and Leonel Olimpio both sent wild efforts off target from well out. There was promise when Moussa Maazou rampaged through the centre of the Betis midfield but the forward opted to shoot harmlessly from 20 metres rather than burst into the area.

The paucity of clear-cut chances continued into the second half as Álvaro Vadillo's tame shot from distance provided the only work either goalkeeper needed to do in the 15 minutes following the restart. Betis replacement Jorge Molina was denied by the legs of Douglas when sent clean through as the clock ticked down, and Caro headed the resulting corner just wide.

Just as the game seemed fated to end level, though, Joan Verdú delightfully slipped Chuli into the left of the area and the forward's effort back across goal trickled over the line in the final action of the game.