Real Betis blanks combative Rayo Vallecano 2-0

Seville, Dec 10: Real Betis defeated Rayo Vallecano 2-0 on goals by Argentina's Giovani Lo Celso -- on a penalty kick --- and by Brazil's Sidnei da Silva after a competitive and intense match.

After a relatively even and completely scoreless first half on Sunday, Betis took advantage of a penalty whistled after consulting the replay to clear the way for Lo Celso to notch the game's first tally in the 59th minute, reports Efe.

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And it was Sidnei in the 76th minute who sealed Vallecano's fate in his team's fourth victory in four home matches, two of them La Liga contests, one in the European League and the other in Cope del Rey competition.

Both squads needed the points: Betis to get into the European zone and Rayo to get out of the depths of the La Liga ranking table.

Quique Setien's squad was without Mexican Guardado, who was injured last week, but Betis seemed to do all right with Loren and Paraguay's Tonny Sanabria and with seven other changes in the starting 11 who romped to their 4-0 win over Racing de Santander in the Copa match - those changes being Pau, Bartra, Sidnei, Junior, Carvalho, Lo Celso and Loren.

Rayo, after its 1-0 win last week against Eibar, breaking a string of 11 Liga matches without a win, came out with fire in the belly, although Betis seemed rather lackadaisical early on, perhaps as a result of the many substitutions.

Nevertheless, Betis controlled the ball for 61 percent of the match, fired eight shots (three of which were on goal), although Vallecano's goaltender, Stole Dimietrievski, was only able to save one of them. Vallecano, meanwhile, fired 14 shots, five of which were on goal and Pau Lopez was able to save them all.

With the win, Betis is in 7th place, tied with Levante, but Rayo is in the 19th spot, just ahead of Huesca at the bottom of the barrel.