x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Difficult month ahead for improving Real Betis

The Spanish Primera Liga club have exceeded expectations this season, barring their last game, despite off field problems.

Real Betis players, in green and white, have done very well this season but it will bound to get tougher for them. Dani Pozo / AFP
Real Betis players, in green and white, have done very well this season but it will bound to get tougher for them. Dani Pozo / AFP

It was a week of surprises in Spain: neither Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo nor Falcao scored. The former, who became a father for the first time, put a dummy down his sock in anticipation of a celebration.

Barcelona won to make it their best start to a league season; Madrid won, too, but they look an imitation of the team that won the league last term without key players Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira. And Atletico Madrid lost for the first time in the Primera Liga this season.

Another surprise is that Real Betis are up to fourth, having won three and drawn one since they were hammered 4-0 by fellow Andalusians Malaga on September 29. Their next two games are against rivals from Spain's biggest region – Granada, then city neighbours Sevilla. It will be a tough month, for they will also entertain Madrid and Barcelona, but Betis are unpredictable and can shock.

Betis beat Getafe 4-2 away on Monday, but fans will be wary of getting carried away. They started last season with four wins before losing eight of their next nine matches and tumbling from first to 17th. They finished 13th.

Betis are inconsistent. They are also in administration and hampered by how much they can offer star players such as Benat, the Basque defensive midfielder who became a cult hero at the club after scoring a 93rd-minute derby winner against Sevilla last season.

But whatever is happening at boardroom level it could still turn out to be a good year for a club who appear to have turned the corner on the pitch.

sports@thenational.ae

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