Real Betis ran out deserved 2-1 winners over Real Madrid at the Benito Villamarín Stadium on Sunday night, leaving Zinedine Zidane’s side two points behind leaders Barcelona at the top of the La Liga table.
Sidnei and Christian Tello scored in each half either side of Karim Benzema’s equaliser from the penalty spot in first half stoppage time.
Rubi’s side moved up to 12th in the table, alienating any fears of relegation that were starting to creep in among some supporters following their poor run of form.
This was in stark contrast to the optimism generated at the beginning of the season, when new players were recruited and a sponsorship deal with an online broker has provided a financial boost. However, Real Betis were winless in six prior to facing Madrid, which included draws with Eibar, Leganes and Mallorca.
The Green-and-Whites have been a strange team this season – only four teams have scored more goals than them through 27 games this season, but only two teams have conceded more – Mallorca and Espanyol, both in the relegation zone.
Indeed, their defence has been a major issue this season. Joel Robles’ goal has had very little protection, which hasn’t been helped by head coach Rubi failing to settle on a centre-back partnership.
Should they be able to sort this out in time for the start of next season there is no reason why the Seville-based club couldn’t challenge for the European places. Easier said than done though, but Getafe have shown for the past two seasons that you don’t need the best personnel to create a solid defence.
With Andres Guardado sitting in front of the back four they have a solid starting point. Although the Mexican will turn 34 during the opening weeks of the season, he does still have a couple of seasons left in him in the top-flight.
Right-back Emerson has proven his worth bombing forward but the Brazilian needs to work on his defensive discipline. At 21 years of age, there is no reason why he won’t improve in his defensive duties.
Going forward hasn’t been a problem for Emerson and his teammates this season, even if 38-year-old Joaquin is the club’s second top scorer with eight goals so far this season. Loren Moron leads the line upfront as well as the club’s goalscoring charts, with nine La Liga strikes this season.
Nabil Fekir is having a good season following his surprise move from Lyon last summer. The French international has scored seven goals and assisted three more. Former Real Madrid midfielder Sergio Canales has eight goal involvements from down the left-wing too (4 goals, 4 assists).
Whether Rubi comes back next season remains to be seen. Many would argue the club require a coach with more tactical nous if they’re to break into the European places next season, but there’s no doubt they have several players on their books already that are capable of taking the club higher up in the table.