Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno
Two first half goals and a fairly sloppy second half gave us a 1-1 draw between Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao.
It wasn't the prettiest match every played, but it's a result that works for both Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao. An early penalty goal from Rubén Castro put Betis ahead early, but Aritz Aduriz equalized five minutes from halftime to give us a 1-1 final at the Manuel Ruiz de Lopera Stadium.
Real Betis got off to a dream start as Salva Sevilla was clattered in to by Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz and the referee pointed to the spot. Iraizoz was shown a yellow card for his troubles and then was beaten to the top corner on the penalty by Rubén Castro. It's becoming amazing how this Athletic teams continues to find new ways to be poor.
Athletic managed to survive several waves of pressure from Betis and finally got a good chance of their own in the 21st minute. The initial ball in to the Betis box was headed away right towards Ander Herrera who unleashed a wicked volley shot from about 20-yards out with all sorts of movement on it. Fortunately for the home side, their goalkeeper Adrián was up to the task, making a fantastic diving save and pushing the ball out for a corner.
The steady pressure from Athletic paid off right five minutes before halftim when Ander found Aritz Aduriz with a well timed pass as the striker caught Betis' high line defense a bit flat footed. Aduriz raced in uncontested on Adrián and easily chipped the keeper, pulling Atletico even at 1-1.
Betis came extremely close to pulling ahead in the 65th minute when Joel Campbell got some space in the attacking third. The midfielder put a well placed cross in to the box that was headed just over the crossbar by Jorge Molina.
Beyond that, the second half wasn't all that enthralling. Both teams seems eager to attack but neither looked very clinical with their approach. Lots of errant passes and turnovers in the midfield combined with poor delivery in the attacking third.
Betis remains in fourth place with the result, which is a good thing. Athletic moves up one spot to 14th and puts a little more room between themselves and the drop zone.