Sevilla, Spain, Feb 20 (EFE).- Real Betis suffered in crafting its 2-1 win over a probing and lethal Mallorca on Sunday in Benito Villamarin Stadium before some 48,700 fans, but the victory – thanks to a late penalty kick by Willian Jose – cements the team’s No. 3 spot on the La Liga table.
Midway through a first half of reversals and switches, but with Betis dominating play throughout, Alex Moreno managed to open the scoring in the 25th minute by heading in a nice centering pass by Sergio Canalas and there the score remained until the 75th minute, when Muriqi evened things up for the visitors.
But then it was Willian Jose who got the home squad out in front again – this time for good – in the 83rd minute from the penalty spot and Mallorca didn’t have time to respond.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team had three consecutive victories in all competitions coming into the fray, and his third-place team was in top form, while Luis Garcia Plaza’s men were trying to continue to widen their 6-point distance from the relegation zone on the La Liga table.
Pellegrini, fresh off the team’s win over Russia’s Zenit, made seven changes in his starting 11 for the match, including getting Canales back into the lineup after he had been sidelined for three matches with Covid-19.
The Mallorca helmsman just made one change in the team that had beaten Athletic Club 3-2, namely inserting Jaume Costa for the sanctioned Brian Olivan.
The match was a lively one, with a fast-paced rhythm and lots of back-and-forth, but little by little Betis took control and created numerous openings, posing ever increasing danger for their rivals, until Moreno hit for the 1-0.
Mallorca got itself together and made a good show of trying to get back in the match before the break but had to wait until play resumed and half an hour had gone by before Muriqi could get in position to sink one for the 1-1.
And then, on a penalty kick, Willian Jose, who had come in minutes before for Borja Iglesias, sent the ball into the twine for the 2-1 and the win.
Betis: Rui Silva; Bellerin, Bartra, Victor Ruiz (Edgar, m.62), Alex Moreno; Guido Rodriguez, William Carvalho; Canales (Joaquin, m.84), Fekir, Juanmi (Tello, m.62); Borja Iglesias (Willian Jose, m.70).
Mallorca: Sergio Rico; Maffeo, Raillo, Valjent, Jaume Costa; Take Kubo (Kang-in Lee, m.46), Ruiz de Galarreta (Antonio Sanchez, m.47+), Salva Sevilla (Battaglia, m.65), Dani Rodriguez (Fer Niño, m.70); Angel (Amath, m.46), Muriqi.