Real Betis beat Ludogorets 3-2 in a great Europa League Group C match. The native hegemon tried to oppose the third in La Liga, but the Andalusians did not allow it to surprise Benito Villamarin and imposed their will with a little luck.
Luis Enrique and 41-year-old Joaquin scored before the break and Sergio Canales scored in the second half to give the home side the lead. Kiril Despodov and Rick Jonathan scored for the Bulgarian champions, who scored the first two goals for Ludogorets in Spain. In the closing seconds, substitute Danny Gruper squandered a golden chance to equalize in an extremely exciting and dramatic game in Seville.
Thus, the team led by Manuel Pellegrini topped the group standings with a total asset of 6 points. Ludogorets is in 2nd place with 3 points, the same as Roma. The “green and white” from Sevilla also ended the streak of four consecutive victories of the “Razgrad Eagles” in the home championship and the first round of the Europa League when they defeated Roma.
As expected, the “Benito Villamarin” match started with home pressure. However, the Bulgarian team defended compactly and did not allow any serious scoring chances to be created in front of Padt in the first 10 minutes.
Andres Guardado shot dangerously from distance after a quarter of an hour, but Padt made the save. Ludogorets responded with a shot by Bernard Tekpetei in the 23rd minute, but Claudio Bravo also showed his class and kicked in a corner.
The home side’s more assertive play was crowned with success in the 25th minute when Luis Enrique opened the scoring. Canales shoots from distance, Sergio Padt boxes, but the ball hits Juan Miranda. The latter tried to shoot at the goal, but found Luis Enrique, who sent the ball under the crossbar with his head – 1:0.
Ludogorets tries to answer immediately. In the 29th minute, Cauley Oliveira shot, but Bravo was on top again.
In the 40th minute, veteran Joaquin doubled Betis’ lead with a superb goal. The 41-year-old winger made a powerful diagonal shot from the arc of the penalty and checked Padt, sending the ball into the left corner of the goal – 2:0.
Just 60 seconds later, Kiril Despodov received a yellow card for simulation.
In the first minute of added time of the first half, it was Despodov who brought back the intrigue in the match. He surprised Claudio Bravo with a free-kick from the left, with the keeper unable to clear the ball before it crossed the line. The hosts disputed the goal, but the judge Andris Treimanis pointed to the center – 2:1.
Shortly after the break, Sergio Canales shot very dangerously from the penalty area, but Padt managed to clear for a corner. Ludogorets responded with a shot by Igor Tiago, deflected by Bravo. Another shot from the Brazilian followed, this time with a head, but the goalkeeper of the hosts caught it.
In the 52nd minute, Betis missed a golden opportunity. Juan Miranda received a pass from Jose on the penalty spot, but it went over the bar.
However, Betis took a 3-1 lead in the 59th minute through Sergio Canales. He first passed the ball between the legs of Piotrowski, then from a distance, and Sergio Padt did not intervene in the best way and the ball passed between his hands to end up in the net – 3:1.
Shortly after, Anton Nedyalkov and Andres Guardado collided in the Betis penalty area before a corner kick was taken. Both received formal warnings.
A quarter of an hour before the end, Ludogorets revived their hopes with a second goal. Rick Jonathan prepares Bravo with a shot from 20 meters – 3:2.
In the second minute of stoppage time, substitute Duni Gruper missed a golden chance to equalize and bring the point for the Razgrad players.
There were no more shots on either goal until the end and Betis took the three points in a thrilling match against hometown hegemon Ludogorets
Real Betis – Ludogorets 3:2
Scorers: 1:0 Luis Enrique (25), 2:0 Joaquin (40), 2:1 Kiril Despodov (45+1), 3:1 Sergio Canales (59), 3:2 Rick Jonathan (75)
Real Betis: 1. Claudio Bravo – 24. Aitor Rubial, 19. Luis Filipe, 3. Edgar Gonzalez, 33. Juan Miranda – 4. Paul Akuoku, 18. Andres Guardado – 11. Luis Enrique, 10. Sergio Canales, 17. Joaquin ( K) – 12. Willian Jose
Reservations: 13. Rui Silva, 25. Danny Martin, 5. Guido Rodriguez, 9. Borja Iglesias, 14. William Carvalho, 15. Alex Moreno, 16. Herman Pesella, 28. Rodri, 32. Fran Delgado
Coach: Manuel Pellegrini
Ludogorets: 1. Sergio Padt – 16. Aslak Von Vitry, 24. Olivier Verdon, 3. Anton Nedyalkov, 4. Sisinho – 6. Jakub Piotrowski, 23. Manuel Shaw – 37. Bernard Tekpetei, 95. Cauley Oliveira, 11. Kiril Despodov – 9. Igor Tiago
Reservations: 12. Simon Sluga, 67. Damian Hristov, 5. Georgi Terziev, 10. Matias Tissera, 14. Denny Gruper, 20. Nonato, 32. Igor Plastun, 64. Dominic Yankov, 73. Rick Jonathan, 82. Ivan Yordanov, 90 Spas Delev
Coach: Ante Shimunja
judge: Andris Treimanis (Latvia)