Liga - Betis hold Malaga in derby

Sat, 05 Nov 20:50:00 2011

Real Betis ended a run of six consecutive defeats in La Liga as they halted a Malaga resurgence in its tracks with a 0-0 draw at Estadio Benito Villamarin.

Jorge Molina - 0

Malaga had ended their own poor run of form last weekend with a win over Espanyol but Manuel Pellegrini's side were unable to break down the promoted side and were arguably fortunate to escape with a point from the Andalucian derby.

The draw moves Malaga to within a point of fifth-placed Sevilla, while Betis move into 11th ahead of fellow promoted side Rayo Vallecano.

Betis were looking to avoid equalling a club record of seven consecutive league defeats - set in 1965, and then matched in 1968 and 1985 - but produced a confident first-half performance despite their recent travails in La Liga.

In Jorge Molina they had the most dangerous performer in the opening 45 minutes but it was team-mate Ruben Castro who spurned the first great chance of the game, turning his shot over the bar from eight yards following a cross from Pozuelo.

Molina sprung to life on 24 minutes when he raced onto a superb cross from Isidoro and buried a low shot into the side netting, only to be ruled offside.

The forward then drilled an effort wide from 30 yards and turned provider when producing a dangerous cross that almost forced Martin Demichelis to slot the ball past his own keeper. Wilfredo Caballero prevented any embarrassment, just.

Malaga won at home to Espanyol to end a run of three consecutive defeats last weekend but Pellegrini's side lapsed back into mediocrity at Betis, with star playmaker Santi Cazorla unable to impress himself fully upon the contest.

When the Spain international did spread the ball wide for Nacho Monreal in the early stages, the left-back's cross could not pick out lone striker Rondon. Winger Joaquin, on his return to his former club, also struggled to create chances in a disappointing first half.

Betis emerged with intent and Nacho Monreal was forced to make a desperate intervention to clear from a cross from Pozuelo after the 20-year-old made space with a brilliant turn. Pozuelo himself was then denied by a fine block after Ruben Castro wriggled away from Jesus Gamez to produce a cut-back.

However, Malaga soon improved and began to pressure Casto in the Betis goal. After 56 minutes they enjoyed their first proper chance on goal as Duda held onto the ball before finding Monreal on the left. His cross picked out Rondon and Casto did well to save from the striker's header.

Cazorla then leapt into action three minutes later when Jose Dorado accidentally passed the ball directly to the Spain man. With Casto off his line, Cazorla attempted to chip the keeper from 45 yards and saw him just get something to the ball, then smother it quickly with Rondon hovering in the box.

Cazorla also found Gamez with a clever pass over the top but the right-back's first-time volleyed effort flew into the side netting.

In a much more open second half, Betis responded and after Demichelis was forced into an excellent sliding tackle on Molina, Malaga quickly ceded possession to allow Pozuelo to curl a low effort just wide of the far post.

However, neither side could find a breakthrough in Andalucia.

Tom Adams / Eurosport

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