Liga - Honours even in fiery Seville derby

Sat, 21 Jan 22:54:00 2012

The 10 men of Sevilla earned a 1-1 Liga draw in a fiery first Seville derby for three years at the Benito Villamarin home of Real Betis.

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A brilliant Beñat free-kick on 26 minutes opened the scoring for the hosts - promoted back to the top flight last season - after Sevilla defender Fazio fouled Ruben Castro.

Alvaro Negredo levelled before half-time with a header but Sevilla had to close ranks with 21 minutes left as giant Fazio, already booked for that earlier foul, picked up a second yellow card.

Negredo was put through on goal by a long ball over the top after only three minutes, but home keeper Casto got a hand to his shot to divert the ball on to the top of the goal.

Sevilla had the better of a frantic opening 45 minutes, with Jesus Navas a constant menace down the right. However his crossing was generally disappointing with men always available in the middle, looking to become a derby hero.

Had he had Fredi Kanoute - banned for the encounter - available in the box, perhaps the outcome would have been different. Sevilla were also missing influential playmaker Diego Perotti due to a hamstring injury.

However Betis could point to the absence of defender Mario, sent off last weekend against Barcelona.

Fazio is a rock at the heart of Marcelino's defence and made many timely interceptions. However he should have known better than to clip the heels of Castro, Betis' best attacker on the night, as he looked to penetrate the box.

Beñat lined up the set-piece, which was almost central, and bent it brilliantly into the top corner to give Javi Varas no chance.

That got the home fans jumping, but Sevilla continued to be the greater goal threat. Just after the half-hour mark captain Iriney, backtracking in midfield, played a backpass that put Antonio Luna through on goal - only for Casto to make a brilliant block again.

At the other end on 36 minutes Castro seemed to be shoved over in the box by Luna, but referee Velasco Carballo stood firm.

Fazio forced Casto to tip over with a powerful header from a corner - but Sevilla were level soon after.

Navas finally picked out a perfect cross as he scampered down the right, allowing Negredo in the middle to head home simply.

The second half did not live up to the high tempo of the first, while Betis were the more potent force within it.

In the 50th minute Varas saved from Castro with his legs and when Juanma laid the rebound off to Jefferson Montero, he shot over the bar.

There was aggro between one of the ball boys and Sevilla players in both halves - making a mockery of both club presidents' appeal for calm in the week leading up to the game - and the match became more niggly in midfield.

Betis gained new impetus when Fazio fouled a surging Roque Santa Cruz to be given his marching orders. However Castro on the left suffered in a similar way to Navas from failing to deliver a decisive final ball.

With 10 minutes left and Sevilla defending desperately inside the box, Beñat's eventual shot deflected just wide of the post.

And in the final minutes there were only a couple of weak penalty claims and a few strikes from distance for the fans to get excited about.

Sevilla move up to eighth with the point - their first picked up on the road after conceding the opening goal - while Betis drop to 12th, three points behind them.

Jonathan Symcox - on Twitter @jonathansymcox / Eurosport

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