Pepe Mel - Real Betis Manager
"Once it went very well and on another occasion it went very badly [5-1 defeat last November]. There are variables that a Coach cannot control and that can affect the game."
"We have to go out with the same intensity, in what we do. Too many words about the game are emotional, you become stressed."
Three goals in five minutes ensured Betis beat fellow Andalusians Granada 5-1, Mel made three changes to this team with Antonio Amaya covering for the injured Mario in the middle of defence. Key players Beñat and Joel Campbell were back in the starting eleven.
Unai Emery - Sevilla Manager
"We have a lot of confidence, although with little reason so far, because in 15 games on the road we have just the one win, but we are convinced that we will turn this situation around, with loud and clear recognition that we have not done well so far and that we now must do better."
"This is a game to be playing on the pitch and one for the fans. And it is the duty on two fronts to win, one for European qualifying and one for the supporters."
Fernando Navarro's red card against Athletic Bilbao means he was replaced at centre-back by Albert Botía, whilst Jesús Navas returned in place of Manu Del Moral on the right-wing.
What stood out from the opening five minutes involved referee Carlos Del Cerro; Paulao's flying boot and Alberto Moreno's scything challenge on Joel Campbell were both worthy of bookings, yet it was Beñat who took a resulting free-kick without the referee's permission that received the first caution of the match. As the home side Betis started the stronger, their best chance of success looked to be through Arsenal's on-loan winger Campbell, twice in the opening 15 minutes Beñat played diagonal balls down the channels in the space behind Moreno. The full-back is no slouch, but they were clearly trying to utilise Campbell's pace, this was a tactic that they were unable to exploit further until later in the match.
What quickly became apparent was how exposed Betis were in the transition. Sevilla took advantage of Pepe Mel's decision to field Cañas and Beñat in a midfield pivot, both players are creatively good, but neither offer protection defensively. With Geoffrey Kondogbia and Gary Medel closing the two midfielders down quickly in possession, they weren't afforded much time on the ball, whilst when Sevilla countered, the back four was completely exposed as was displayed in the opening two goals. José Antonio Reyes was superb at drifting in between the lines and playing in runners such as Ivan Rakitić and Jesús Navas. As seen by the diagrams, although he was playing left-wing he was able to pick up positions across the attacking areas of the pitch, misplacing few passes by his standards and controlling the match. Sevilla were good value for their 3-1 lead at half-time, with Gary Medel's error allowing Betis some hope with a consolation through Dorlan Pabón.
Whilst Sevilla were comfortably the better side in the first half and Betis defended woeful at times, neither team dominated possession. Two individual mistakes gave Betis a chance that they should never have got; first it was Federico Fazio blocking substitute Jorge Molina off the ball to concede a penalty, which was dispatched by Rubén Castro. Secondly, Medel's handbags with Cañas gave the referee no alternative, but to send him off as he raised his hand to his opponents face, even if the contact was minimal.
Emery had to drop Rakitić back into midfield and move to a 4-4-1, it was always going to be a matter of time before Reyes was removed. While he was the games outstanding performer in the first half, he can't be relied on to track back and work off the ball when down to ten men, bringing on Diego Perotti made perfect sense. The Argentine allowed Sevilla to maintain their shape, ensure they still had a threat on the counter and offer fresh legs. As Sevilla naturally dropped deeper, Cañas was able to dictate the tempo and the ball, for the first time in the match one of the sides were able to hold on to possession. In the opening 55 minutes he attempted 24 passes, yet in the final 35 minutes he had made 27 passes.
With momentum on his teams side, Pepe Mel removed defender Paulao and put on midfielder Nosa, the substitute headed in the equaliser seven minutes after arriving onto the pitch through sheer persistence.
It's not hard to see why Sevilla have not won away since September, 3-0 up they should have been able to control the ball and see the game out. Unai Emery got his starting eleven spot on, along with the teams plan to press high and stop Betis playing. Unfortunately for him, his side made individual mistakes and lacked discipline. Whilst Pepe Mel will lament his decision not to play a 4-3-3 with Rubén Pérez sitting in front of the defence (as they did against Granada), his substitutions helped shift the game back in their direction. Molina and Nosa were both directly involved in their final two goals. Both teams were aggressive and created a high number of chances in a fully entertaining game that ended 3-3.
Pepe Mel - Real Betis Manager
"The 0-3 so early was because we did not put into practice, that we had tried not to leave Rakitić on his own. We have done that wrong."
"From the bench we have solutions and they have done exceptional. Jorge Molina has given us an out ball and held it up, Álvaro Vadillo was requested to pin back Coke and he has done so, and then we tried to connect Nosa with Beñat and reach the area with his power."
Unai Emery - Sevilla Manager
"In a normal situation, the game would be ours, but you have to say on all the hard work we have done as a result of the expulsion of Medel."
"We have to master a game ranging from playing to the emotional. This I said after Atlético Madrid, is a day we need to be much used too. So, I feel responsible, not to anticipate what might happen."