Deportivo La Coruña pulled off a massive shock as they recorded their first away win of the season against an in-form Real Betis side at the Manuel Ruiz De Lopera thanks to three second-half goals; one from Riki and two from Ángel Lafita.
After been handed a rare starting berth Riki scored for the first time in the league this season before Lafita grabbed the second and third in the last ten minutes to pull Deportivo out of a mini dip in form and to hand a surprise defeat to Betis.
The win was not without controversy though as the home side complained that they had players down in the build up to the first goal and that there had been a foul. The referee didn't blow though and Riki tapped into an empty net after Andrés Guardado had seen his shot saved before, just 20 minutes later, Lafita scored a brilliant solo goal which he finished by blasting through Espinosa Casto in the Betis goal.
Sergio García was sent off with just ten minutes left after he received a second yellow card for diving in the box and Lafita put the nail in the coffin five minutes later as he converted a nice cross from Juan Valerón.
It was a fantastic win for the away side but Betis will be kicking themselves having missed some good opportunities to score first and then to concede a soft opening goal in the manner they did.
Looking for their third straight victory the hosts started off by far the stronger side against a Deportivo team who were yet to win away from home all season. Indeed, things didn't go great for them from the start as Julian De Guzman had to be taken off after just five minutes and replaced by Sergio when he injured himself in a collision with Nélson. It was not ideal for Miguel Angel Lotina or for Depor who had lined up with a reasonably attacking formation with Riki upfront and a midfield quintet behind him.
They couldn't get hold of the ball in the opening exchanges though as Achille Emaná looked lively in and around the box along with Mariano Pavone. The striker was a real threat and it was only thanks to some good defending from Albert Lopo that he was prevented a clear shot on goal as the ball dropped to him in the box. Espinosa Casto in the Betis goal had very little to do in the first fifteen minutes but his palms were finally warmed as Angel Lafita and Andrés Guardado fired in a shot and then a cross respectively for the keeper to claim. At the other end Daniel Aranzubía was a lot busier as he was forced into a brilliant save to deny Sergio García on the volley from close range and then saw substitute Sergio clear off the line as Mehmet Aurelio headed goalwards.
The home side were beginning to control the match more and more and whilst Depor did show some nice moves on the break Riki did not see much of the ball in the box and was instead forced to drop off and collect it. Sergio García and Pavone on the other hand looked lively, although not particularly clinical as the former showed when he messed up a good shooting chance from about 18 yards out. Similarly Emaná wasted a few good chances by shooting high or wide and Betis really should have gone in ahead at the break after Sergio García picked up on a deflection and tried to square but could only pick out the grateful hands of Aranzubia. The whistle eventually came with Betis enjoying another good spell of possession but unable to break down a stubborn and determined Depor defence.
Indeed, the second-half started much the same as the first had finished, with the hosts creating the majority of the chances and enjoying most of the possession. Sergio García was a constant menace and he had a couple of good opportunities to put Betis ahead but he failed to take any of them. First he saw a shot saved by Aranzubia from distance, then shot wide of the goal from a decent position and then, when his shot was goal-bound, saw Manuel Pablo brilliantly block his effort. The home side paid for their inability to convert chances into goals too as, with fifteen minutes gone in the half Deportivo took the lead through Riki. In a move which swept from one end to the other it was Guardado who had the first effort on goal which Casto could only parry, leaving Riki to tap into the open net. However, the actual goal was not the main talking point as the players surrounded the referee protesting that in the build-up they had men down on the floor who were fouled by Lafita. Sergio García was booked for his over the top complaints and on seeing it again it is difficult to see how Betis thought it was a bad decision, bearing in mind the Depor player was taking on two players.
Nevertheless, it was certainly a shock lead for the visitors and they could well have gone two ahead just minute later as Riki had another good chance but this time he shot wide. Paco Chaparro, who was fuming on the sidelines, decided to bring on José Mari in a bid to turn things around and he should have done better with his nearly his first touch, a header, but under pressure he missed. Deportivo killed the game off with ten minutes left though as Lafita scored a brilliant solo goal, running from the half-way line and jinking his way into the box before smashing a shot into the back of the net. The goal stunned the Seville crowd and just minutes later things got even worse for the home side as Sergio García received his second yellow card for diving and had to leave the pitch.
Betis were falling apart and with just three minutes left they hit the bottom as Lafita scored his second and Deportivo's third of the night. Juan Valerón was the architect as he combined with Guardado, eventually receiving a one-two inside the box which he squared for Lafita to finish off from a few yards out. It was a perfect finish to the game for the away side who, after losing 3-0 to Sporting Gijón and to CSKA Moscow now inflicted the scoreline out on a dissappointing Betis side.
Bookings: `33 Sergio, `60 Sergio García, `83 Mehmet Aurelio
Sendings Off: `81 Sergio García
Real Betis 0-3 Deportivo La Coruña
`60 0-1 Riki
`79 0-2 Lafita
`87 0-3 Lafita
Betis: Casto, Nelson, Melli, Arzu, Fernando Vega, Mehmet Aurelio, Emaná (`45 Juanma), Capi, Damiá, Sergio García, Pavone (`70 José Mari)
Deportivo La Coruña: Aranzubia, Manuel Pablo, Lopo, Zé Castro, Filipe, De Guzmán (`5 Sergio), Juan Rodríguez, Lafita, Verdú (`81 Valerón), Guardado, Riki (`70 Bodipo)