Betis secure return to Europe with 2-1 win over Malaga

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Seville (Spain), May 1 (IANS) Real Betis defeated already relegated Malaga 2-1 in a Liga football match to assure themselves of playing in Europe next season for the first time in five seasons.

With seven wins and a draw in their last eight matches, Betis are guaranteed to finish the season no lower than seventh in La Liga. With their current fifth position in La Liga, they may go on to play for the UEFA Champions League or the Europa League, reports Efe.

Malaga, playing strictly for pride, on Sunday turned in a respectable performance at Seville’s Benito Villamarin stadium.

While the first chance went to Betis, a strike in the 18th minute by Antonio Barragan that bounced off the cross-bar, it was Malaga who opened the scoring a little more than a minute later with a goal by Youssef En-Nesyri.

The advantage didn’t last long as a Malaga defensive blunder set up an easy goal for Betis winger Riza Durmisi to make it 1-1, which held up for the rest of the first half as the teams put on a good show for the 53,000 spectators.

Play continued at the same pace after the break, though as the minutes wore on it began to look as if both sides were willing to settle for a draw.

All that changed when Andres Guardado came on for Betis in the 68th minute to spur his teammates to intensify their efforts.

Six minutes later, Fabian Ruiz scored from outside the box to put Betis ahead for good.

–IANS

pur/mr

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