Spot-on Sevilla get the better of Betis
Thursday, 20 March 2014
Real Betis 0-2 Sevilla FC (agg: 2-2, Sevilla win 4-3 on pens)
Having wiped out a two-goal deficit and forced penalties, the visitors exhibited nerves of steel to take their place in the quarter-finals.
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Having wiped out a two-goal deficit and forced extra time, Sevilla FC kept their cool to sink Real Betis Balompié from the spot and qualify for the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals.
Goals in either half from José Antonio Reyes and Carlos Bacca had breathed new life into the visitors before the drama of the shoot-out. Then, after captain Ivan Rakitić stayed composed to steer Sevilla 4-3 in front, Betis's Nono sent his penalty wide to hand their city rivals a place in Friday's last-eight draw.
Sevilla wasted little time in exposing gaps in the Betis back line in this round of 16 return leg, Colombia striker Bacca twice causing havoc before a superb 20th-minute opener. After combining with Marko Marin, Alberto Moreno's cutback sped across the area and was slotted in with majestic nonchalance by Reyes. Sevilla scented blood, while the hosts were unsure whether to stick or twist.
Fortunately for Gabriel Calderón's men, Sevilla could not maintain their fierce tempo and the Verdiblancos took advantage, threatening through Cedrick and Rubén Castro. In the second half, Unai Emery's charges wrested back the initiative with Stéphane Mbia – who linked well in midfield with Rakitić – being denied by Antonio Adán. Back came Betis, though, with first-leg scorer Leo Baptistão sending in four attempts in as many minutes, the last of which required a fine low save from Beto.
Sevilla responded by going 4-2-4 and their bravery was soon rewarded. Again Moreno was the provider, his sumptuous cross thumped high into net by Bacca with 15 minutes remaining. Still further chances came and went, Betis substitute Salvador Sevilla wasting two free-kick opportunities to snatch a last-gasp win.
The intensity continued into extra time, which featured more heroics from Adán – the ex-Real Madrid CF custodian intervening when both Kevin Gameiro and then Bacca seemed certain to score. Fatigue prevented either side avoiding a shoot-out, however, and though it was Sevilla who failed first through Vitolo, Betis paid the price for misses from Alfred N'Diaye and Nono.