La Liga roundup: Sevilla beat Real Betis to level with Real Madrid on top, Valencia lose to Alaves

Seville: Sevilla boss Jorge Sampaoli hailed his side's second-half "rebellion" to take the spoils once more in the Seville derby with a 2-1 win over Real Betis on Saturday and move joint top of La Liga.

Danish defender Riza Durmisi's well-struck free-kick gave Betis a deserved first-half lead.

File photo of Sevilla FC's Steven Jovetic. Getty Images

File photo of Sevilla FC's Steven Jovetic. Getty Images

However, the hosts' porous defending at set-pieces was exposed as first Gabriel Mercado and then captain Vicente Iborra stretched Sevilla's unbeaten run over their local rivals to 10 games.

Victory also takes Sampaoli's men level on 52 points with Real Madrid. However, the European champions have two games in hand, the first of which comes away to Villarreal on Sunday.

Barcelona slip to third on 51 points ahead of their trip to Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

"In the first-half we had zero chance of getting something positive and it took the rebellion of the second-half for that to happen," said Sampaoli.

"Betis are one of the teams that have caused us most damage, but we have to keep thinking about what we did in the second-half to be able to dream about staying at the top of the table."

Betis fed off the atmosphere at a packed Benito Villamarin Stadium for the first 45 minutes as Sevilla looked jaded after their Champions League exploits in defeating English champions Leicester City in midweek.

"It is a very hard defeat for us to take," said Betis' star midfielder Dani Ceballos.

"The two goals they scored are schoolboy errors and can't happen, especially against your eternal rivals."

The visitors were fortunate early on when Adil Rami's attempted clearance ricocheted off Betis midfielder Petros and flew narrowly wide of his own goal.

Aissa Mandi then saw a header come back off the crossbar, but Betis did finally make the breakthrough nine minutes before half-time.

Durmisi took aim from 25 yards and his effort found a hole in the Sevilla wall before flying past the helpless Sergio Rico.

Sampaoli reacted at half-time as he sent on Wissam Ben Yedder and Iborra for the ineffectual Pablo Sarabia and Franco Vazquez.

And Iborra had a huge impact in turning the game around as he was also involved in Sevilla's equaliser.

Samir Nasri's free-kick found the midfielder unmarked inside the area and after Antonio Adan saved his first effort, Mercado was on hand to smash home the rebound.

Sevilla dominated once back on level terms as left-back Sergio Escudero's driven effort flew just past the far post before Ben Yedder should have done better when he blazed over when well-placed inside the area.

And the Europa League holders got the winner thanks to more slack Betis marking from another Nasri free-kick as this time Steven N'Zonzi's flick-on was pounced on by Iborra to stab home from close range.

Elsehwere, Valencia were brought back to earth after beating Real Madrid in midweek as they conceded twice in the final 13 minutes to lose 2-1 at Alaves.

And Leganes eased their relegation fears with a 4-0 thrashing of fellow strugglers Deportivo la Coruna to record their first win since November.

Leganes are now five points clear of the bottom three and leapfrog Deportivo, who remain three points above the drop zone in 17th.


Published Date: Feb 26, 2017 12:19 pm | Updated Date: Feb 26, 2017 12:19 pm