Villarreal lose to Real Betis by the smallest of margins in a game where each side dominated a half
Villarreal were defeated at the Benito Villamarín (1-0). Unai Emery’s side lost to Real Betis in an evenly matched game that could have gone either way. The home side took the three points with a goal from Rodri in a second half in which the Yellows were not at their best.
There was a high tempo in the early stages of the game at the Benito Villamarín, which was the venue for two of the biggest entertainers at the start of the league and the match did not disappoint.
It didn’t take long for the first goal-scoring opportunities to arrive. Real Betis started with a warning. From a corner kick, they found Luiz Henrique, who failed to make clear contact with the shot, which caused Gero Rulli no problems. A few minutes later, the Andalusian side were back on the attack. In the 10th minute, Sergio Canales sent the ball into the clouds after winning the ball back in the home side’s half.
The Submarine responded to Betis’ attacks from the quarter-of-an-hour mark onwards. First Gerard Moreno had a chance in a quick counter attack from Unai Emery’s side. Later, Gio Lo Celso missed a one-on-one with Rui Silva, who made a fine save. The Argentinian midfielder was unable to capitalise on a fabulous assist from Nico Jackson in a counter-attacking move. And in the 25th minute, Gerard sent the ball into the side netting after a great move by the Submarine inside the box.
After a few minutes of calm, the match burst into life again just before half-time. Nico Jackson missed a clear goal-scoring chance after an error by the Betis defence. The Senegalese stole the ball in a dangerous position, but lacked the pace to finish in front of Rui Silva. With a great interception, Luiz Felipe managed to prevent the striker from shooting clearly.
The second half started with bad news for Villarreal. Gerard had to leave through injury. Emery looked to the bench. He replaced the Catalan striker and Yeremy Pino and brought on Álex Baena and the always attacking Samu Chukwueze.
In the 61st minute, taking advantage of the blow after Gerard’s injury, Real Betis took the lead. The Andalusian side, who had started the second half better, found the net through Rodri. He found space behind the Yellows’ defence and connected with Luiz Henrique’s measured cross from the right to beat Rulli.
In the closing stages of the game, Villarreal lacked clarity in the creative side of the game. Emery tried to alleviate this by giving Johan Mojica, Francis Coquelin and, later, José Luis Morales the chance to come on. The Submarine searched for an equaliser right until the final whistle, but in the end, they ended up losing by the smallest of margins in Seville.
Real Betis: Rui Silva; Sabaly, Pezzela, Luiz Felipe, Álex Moreno; William, G. Rodríguez, Luiz Henrique (Guardado, m. 84), Canales, Rodri (Aitor Ruibal, m. 69); B. Iglesias (Willian J., m. 89)
Villarreal CF: Rulli; Kiko F., R. Albiol, Pau, A. Pedraza (Mojica, m. 71); Yeremy (Chukwueze, m. 54), Parejo, Capoue (Coquelin, m. 71), Lo Celso; Gerard (Álex B., min. 54), N. Jackson (A. J. Morales, m. 78).
Goal: 1-0. Min. 61: Rodri.
Referee: De Burgos Bengoetxea. Booked: Guardado (Real Betis); Yeremy (Villarreal).
Match information: Match between Real Betis and Villarreal CF, corresponding to Matchday 5 of the 2022/23 LaLiga Santander season, at the Estadio Benito Villamarín. Attendance: 53,276.