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Molina, Castro and Isidoro - Photo: FCB Archive

History

Betis spent two seasons in the second division before winning the league title and promotion
in 2011 and in their last league game at the Camp Nou in 2009, they lost 3-2, with Eto’o (2) and Gudjohnson getting the Barça goals, whilst the 1-1 draw they managed in Barcelona in 2007 – with a last gasp equaliser from Sobis - handed Real Madrid a league lead they never gave up. Last season Betis lost 5-0 to Barça in the Spanish Cup in Barcelona, though they inflicted a rare defeat on Guardiola’s team in the return leg.

This season so far

Betis made a great start to the season and won their first three games to go top of the table
before reality set in and they went on a disastrous run of ten games in which they managed
just one draw and nine defeats and dropped into the relegation fight. They seemed to have
turned around that horrible run and despite getting knocked out of the Cup by second division teamCordoba, they have won their last three league games against Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Sporting to move into a comfortable 10th place on 22 points.

Ones to watch

Betis look likely to start with their leading scorer Ruben Castro and Paraguayan Roque Santa
Cruz up front. Castro has bagged five goals so far this season – though he managed 27 in last
year’s promotion winning campaign – and is a well travelled, experienced front man, as is
Santa Cruz, who as well as being his country’s leading scorer, has played in three World Cups.
Santa Cruz signed from Manchester City in August 2011, having previously made his name in
the Premier with Blackburn Rovers after signing from Bayern Munich.

Coach

Pepe Mel was a player at Betis between 1989 and 1993 and rejoined the club as coach in 2010
when he took them to the second division title and promotion and has made his name as
manager who likes to bring in youngsters and plays an open attacking game. His ambition is
clear and he has claimed: “I’m 48 and I know I have things still to achieve. I’m excited at the
prospect of Betis becoming well known in Europe – well known for our young President, young
coach and young players. It’s not a short term thing, but we want the Champions League music to be heard at our ground”. In 2011 he published his first novel El Mentiroso -The Liar.


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