Giovani Lo Celso had been screaming for a banquet for weeks but Quique Setién has a blind faith in him and, in his worst part of the season, kept him in the starting lineup. Two goals from the Argentine were the best return of that confidence for a coach to which a slip would have got into serious problems. With the three points added in front of a rival that joins its weakness the fatality, as proof of the penalty that failed at the last minute, Betis is still in the fight for the Europa League and faces the derby with a better face than it looked 24 hours.
Perhaps the word "quality" is abused to the detriment of the more precise "technique", which is the virtue treasured by Betis midfielders. All of them, without exception, treat the ball with exquisiteness and that is why this team is nice to see even on their silly evenings, which also tend to be more than desirable. It offered, thus, about ten funny initial minutes Setién's troop, who locked up Villarreal in his lair and prowled the goal, with center-kick Emerson to the included crossbar, until Lo Celso came out of that lethargy in which he has been sunk the last two months.
Bastra broke two lines with a magnificent vertical pass and Guardado transmitted to the Argentine, who defined with a wonderful chop before the departure of Asenjo. For the comfort of his coach, football had rewarded with an advantage the good start of the game but to the despair of the crowd, who had challenged a night of dogs to get involved in the Benito Villamarín in a number higher than 40,000, he conceded the tie two minutes later . Corner that puts Cazorla in the penalty spot that with that glove that fits his right foot and irruption of unmarked Funes Mori to nod at pleasure. It's too easy to hurt Betis.
Bonera's injury, supplied by Cáseres, was good for Javi Calleja, who left his corset of three power stations to populate the center of the pitch, the engine room where the green and white soccer is piloted. They arrived a few minutes of dominance of Villarreal, in which Pedraza martyred Emerson by his lane, Mario Gaspar sent a shot to the clouds when he was alone in front of the goalkeeper and Cazorla looked for the stick of Pau López in a direct free on the edge of the area He did not enter because the Catalan goalkeeper held firm in his position. They were measuring, definitely, two teams as nice as inconsistent.
Betis wanted to increase the pace in the second half, perhaps partly because the tier demanded it, and burned around the quarter hour, when it came on a rain of chances on the yellow goal. In three minutes, Jesé finished off the side of the net, Emerson crashed his free kick against a defender and Asenjo stopped two balls almost impossible Tello and Canales, shortly after he went with his right ankle battered. It was a full-blown siege that ended when the closed left-hander Lo Celso was able to thread a right hand between the legs and into the wood.
It lacks, yes, murderous instinct to a Betis whose absences always grant options to the rival, no matter how much he accuses the nerves of the struggle for permanence. Villarreal was groaning, asking for the coup de grace, but his host veered towards the conservatism that Setién execrates so much, an excess of prudence that, with such a small advantage, never means quiet endings of the game. Several centers overflew the local area in a funereal environment that foreshadowed the ruin or, perhaps, the most outstanding personnel were sheltering under the umbrellas rather than prodding their footballers. A silly, silly hand, Bartra was about to punish the funk but Cazorla launched the worst penalty of his career: soft center, at the hands of Pau Lopez.
REAL BETIS (2): Pau López; Emerson, Mandi, Bartra, Feddal, Tello; William Carvalho, Guardado, Canales (Joaquín, min 65); Lo Celso (Junior, min 73) and Jesé (Javi García, min 80).
VILLARREAL CF (1): Asenjo; Mario Gaspar, Bonera (Cáseres, min 28), Funes Mori, Víctor Ruiz, Pedraza; Morlanes (Gerard Moreno, min 72), Cazorla, Iborra; Samu Chukwueze (Bacca, min 64) and Ekambi.
Goals: 1-0, Min 11: Lo Celso. 1-1, Min 13: Funes Mori. 2-1, Min 63: Lo Celso.
Referee: Estrada Fernández (Catalan Committee). He admonished Víctor Ruiz, Samu Chukwueze, Jesé, Cáseres, Feddal, Mario Gaspar, Tello and William Carvalho.