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Deportivo La Coruña
March 23, 2014
• 12:00 PM
• Estadio Benito Villamarín, Sevilla
Referee: Javier Estrada Fernández
• Attendance: 31313
Diego Costa 64'
That's it from me, till next time.
Atletico take the points and, temporarily at least, go top of the Liga table with the Clasico to come later. They never needed to shift into top gear to put the hosts to the sword, and goals from Gabi and Diego Costa did the damage. Betis sink further and further away from safety.
90' + 2'
An uneventful additional period passes without any incident, and the referee brings an end to the game.
90' + 1'
Into the first of two minutes of added time.
Diego becomes the latest player n the book after he barreled into Nono near both sets of benches. Not long to go now as the game winds down.
Yellow CardDiego Ribas
Cedrick picks up a yellow card after he failed to control a ball before it crossed the byeline, then complained profusely to the referee, which earned him his booking.
The game's been halted for a second as Godin complains of danger in an aerial challenge by Nono. Replays suggest that there was nothing malicious in it at all though.
Off goes Koke, who has had a very influential game in the second half, and on comes Sosa for another chance to impress the watching Simeone.
An agonizing end to the game for the home side here. Molina is found by Cedrick at the top of the box and is under pressure to get the shot off, scuffing it in the end right into the arms of Courtois.
Probably a third one in this for the visiting side if they so desire. They've controlled everything about this game since Rodriguez's dismissal, and are passing the opposition into oblivion.
Adan sprints off his goalline to thwart Costa, who had left the defence lagging behind with a quick dart to latch onto a through ball. No foul there as the keeper made clear contact with the ball before the man.
Atletico nearly score their 100th goal of the season, as a Koke free kick sees no less than four Atletico players break free, but comically, Costa's header bounces off the back of David Villa and out of play! That could and should have been the third goal here.
Not a whole lot happening in terms of goalmouth action at the moment, with Calderon just about resigned to defeat. Lolo Reyes has been replaced by Javier Matilla in a bid to strengthen the midfield.
As expected, Atletico are holding onto the ball with impunity here, forcing Betis to burn through their already depleted resources in a bid to keep up with them. It's all rather one sided at the moment.
Juancar departs, and the Betis man may well rue that chance he had at the beginning of the half. Had he hit the back of the net instead of the base of the post, we could well be looking at a different game here. On comes the enigmatic Cedrick in his place.
Remember, head to head record, not goal difference, is the tie breaker here in la Liga should sides finish level on points, so no need really for Atletico to exert themselves any further in the pursuit of a thrashing. Tougher tests to come in Europe, it's about managing resources at this stage of the season. The points are already sealed here.
For those keeping score, Costa has now scored in his last four games against Betis. In each game, he's struck between the 55th and 65th minutes. Uncanny.
The Brazilian has not been making friends here, but he's surely killed this game dead in its tracks. A cross from the right is not cleared properly, and Koke flicks in a delightful little header for the Brazilian to stab home from deep inside the box! Predatory finish, and that should be that!
COSTA MAKES IT HAPPEN! 2-0!
It's all gone pear shaped for the home side in the last few minutes. A goal down, a man down and with the momentum clearly with the visiting side. Where do they go from here?
Yellow CardJorge Molina
Diego Costa has scored in each of the last three meetings between these sides, with all the goals coming between the 55th and 65th minutes (via Opta). About four minutes left for him to keep that obscure stat going!
Off goes Garcia, who made a few menacing runs but really flattered to deceive all things considered. On comes one of the heroes of Atletico's 2012 Europa League run, the Brazilian Diego.
The midfielder advances to the top of the box, and just when nothing looked on, he hooks a wonderful shot into the left side past the dive of Adan. A great strike, not quite as special as his goal against Real Madrid, but every bit as important!
ATLETICO MADRID HAVE TAKEN THE LEAD!
Second yellow for the Betis man, and it's a stupid booking to pick up. He clearly rakes the ball with his arm when challenging Godin, and the referee sees the whole incident, and duly gives him his marching orders.
RODRIGUEZ SENT OFF!
Atletico have a chance to exploit the opposition on the counter attack, but they are too slow to move the ball up the pitch. What was once a three on three instead leads to a corner as Luis' cross from the byeline is blocked easily.
Betis do excellently to defend against an Atletico attack. Turan's advance down the left flank is halted, and Koke is too slow off the mark to accept his cutback on the edge of the area. N'Diaye clears the ball away from danger.
Only one side have come out to play since the interval, and that side are unlucky to still be locked in a goalless stalemate. Atletico really need to get themselves sorted as the pressure from the hosts is very telling in the early stages of this period.
AGAINST THE POST! Juancar comes within millimeters of opening the scoring! A beautiful ball from Molina finds a small diagonal run from Juancar, who makes space against his marker and slaps a shot across Courtois, which rebounds off the base of the far post!
Here we go again!
Not much to report in terms of chances at the break, but the story of the game has been Diego Costa vs everybody. The striker has been at his cantankerous worst today, with Paulao in particular a target of his eccentricities. It's been a feisty contest overall, but Calderon will be the happier manager with this scoreline as things stand. Stay tuned for the restart soon.
45' + 2'
Our lone minute of added time is up, and that's the end of the first half.
45' + 1'
Into the first minute of added time as Koke swings in a free kick into the heart of the box, and Costa nearly connects with a back heel that would have surely been 1-0 had he gotten it off cleanly.
War is threatening to break out between Diego Costa and Paulao, as the latter attempts to gain a measure of retribution by going in hard on the Atletico striker. I'm not sure that both of them will last the full 90 minutes here, whether by sub or by card!
More recklessness from Atletico, as Luis sends Molina flying with a late challenge. The referee whips out the yellow card right away, which is met with no objection from the Atletico man.
Yellow CardFilipe Luis
Oh dear. Costa has sparked a coming together of both sets of players with a dirty move. He's chasing down a ball against Paulao, but he's fighting a losing battle with the byeline. After he loses the ball, he gives Paulao a small push that sends him into the advertising hoardings. And how is that not a yellow card ref?
Half time is slowly creeping up and we are still yet to have a genuine goal scoring chance at either end of the pitch. Atletico Madrid have scored 97 goals this season, 10 strikes away from their record for an entire season.
Just as I say that, Atletico come close to fashioning a glorious chance, as Costa sprints behind the backline to latch onto a long clip over the top, but Paulao eventually recovers in time to put in an important challenge. Costa was very close to pulling the trigger there.
Atletico have slowed down in an attacking sense in the last 10 minutes or so, which is a testament to the purpose that Betis have injected into their own play. They don't look like the bottom side in la Liga on this evidence.
Rodriguez is in the thick of things again as he goes down on the edge of the penalty area, but the referee deems his fall to be just that, and not indicative of any illegal contact. He's incensed at that decision, and having just picked up a yellow, it's not the wisest reaction.
Rodriguez becomes the first man booked, after sliding in late in an attempt to block Godin's clearance from inside the Atletico penalty area. It was his trailing left leg that caught the Uruguayan, and the referee obliges him with a booking. Good sportsmanship as Godin accepts Rodriguez's immediate apology.
Yellow CardB. Rodríguez
Betis have been doing some admirable work in the last few minutes, keeping Atletico penned back in their own half. However, the Rojiblancos defence is strong and well organised, with gaps and channels proving a hard thing to come by.
Amaya has been struggling with a knock here, and he's sadly not able to continue. His replacement, Nono, was the man who missed the vital penalty against Sevilla midweek, but he's still greeted with a very warm reception by the home fans, and responds with a smile.
Atletico have the ball in the back of the net thanks to a predatory finish from Diego Costa, but the Brazilian had moved a second to early on that play, and the assistant's flag for offside correctly chalks it off.
ATLETICO CHANCE! Turan has been quietly effective in the opening stages of this game, and he advances to the byeline again to stand a cross up to the far post that Garcia very nearly turns in, but for the attentions of Chica once again.
Rodriguez is down on the deck after he appeared to have collided with Godin. After some treatment from the physios though, Rodriguez is able to get back to his feet and resume his participation in this game. Didn't look intentional from Godin, that challenge.
Costa clashes with Paulao, and not for the first time. The referee quickly sorts out the drama, but Atletico's star striker has been his usual prickly self to start the game. He soon gets tangled with Adan on the next play, standing comically over the Betis keeper.
Juan Carlos has two quick chances to make something happen with the ball at his feet but he fails both times, first bending a free kick disappointingly onto the roof of his own net, before connecting with Amaya's deep cross, but finding only the hands of Courtois.
You get the sense that Atletico are getting into their stride, and are readying the knives against this Betis side. The visitors work a quick free kick into the opposition box, but Miranda isn't able to connect properly with the ball, and Betis clear their lines.
Costa gets on his bike for the first time in this game, bulldozing past a trio of Betis defenders and attempting to release Turan, who is promptly tackled by Jordi. The striker is slow to get back onside, however, as on the next play, he is flagged as Gabi takes aim with a shot.
Little pockets of space continue to appear in the Betis ranks, as Atletico fashion another half chance to take the lead. Garcia makes a late run to meet a cross from Luis, but he gets his connection all wrong, and sends it sailing over the crossbar.
The fires have been stoked as Atletico cause some danger in the opposition box! Koke's raking cross nearly picks out Raul Garcia's run towards the goal, but a deflection off Paulao helps it on its way over the line. Betis look vulnerable in the resulting corner, but Chica, not for the first time, is there to get his body in the way.
CHEEKY from Juan Carlos, who benefits from a great Chica interception to receive the ball in midfield with the defence backpedaling. The Betis left back tries to lob Courtois, who had strayed off his line, but the on loan Chelsea man scrambles back into position to prevent any embarrassment.
Betis have their first sight of goal as Juanfran lines one up, but Courtois is never made to move to save the shot as it sails wide of the target. Still, a positive move from the hosts, and the fans appreciate the attacking intent shown on that play.
Atletico are controlling the play early on here, but Betis have already adopted a strong and committed defensive line, which has caught Diego Costa offside already. The home fans are, as always, making an incredible racket. They've deserved better than what they've been served up this season.
Betis get us underway.
The omens continue to pile against the home side. Betis have scored the least goals (23) this season in the league, and they face the division's meanest defence, with Atletico conceding only 21 goals in their 28 games so far. The Verdiblancos also share the second worst defensive record with 56 goals conceded, while Simeone's men have scored 64 so far, third best overall.
Betis' European ambitions were the only rays of sunshine in an otherwise dismal season for them. They currently prop up the Liga table, and are nine points off safety with only 10 games to go. Relegation is close to being rubber stamped, and it's not going to get any easier against a motivated and rested Atletico squad.
Betis meanwhile are entering this game absolutely drained physically and mentally, after a penalty shootout defeat to their fiercest rivals Sevilla in the Europa League only three days ago. The Verdiblancos threw away a 2-0 first leg lead to lose that tie, and it's going to be a stern test of the mettle of Calderon's troops to recover here against the Liga challengers.
Atletico will know that this is a huge opportunity for them to do some damage at the top of the table with a win here, before they join the rest of the world to watch El Clasico later on Sunday. Los Rojiblancos are three points off league leaders Real Madrid, and victory in Seville can potentially draw them level with their city rivals at the division's summit. You know that Simeone will want nothing less.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone has been handed a boost in the form of Miranda and Mario Suarez, who have both completed their respective disciplinary bans and take their place in the starting XI. Tiago has no such luck however, as the midfielder misses this one due to a suspension of his own.
There was a small chance that Leo Baptistao, Atletico's own loanee, would take part in this game for the hosts against his parent club. But a minor injury picked up against Sevilla in midweek and the prospect of a €100 000 fee as per the loan arrangement put them off including the Brazilian youngster. Coach Gabriel Calderon is also without Xavier Torres, Emanuel Igiebor, Caro and Damien Perquis due to injury.
ATLETICO: Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe Luis, Arda, Gabi, Mario, Koke, Raúl García, Diego Costa.
BETIS: Adán, Chica, Amaya, Paulao, Jordi Figueras, Juanfran, Lolo Reyes, N'Diaye, Juankar, Braian Rodríguez, Jorge Molina.
First, our teams.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of Real Betis' clash with Atletico Madrid as the Liga race heats up. My name is Keeghann Sinanan, and I'll be your guide for the blow by blow.
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