Second leg of Copa del Rey round of last 16 between Sevilla and Real Betis takes place on Tuesday, with the home side heading into the return leg with a two-goal lead and great chances to secure the spot in the next stage of the competition.
Three in a row for Sevilla?
Copa del Rey last 16 first leg against Real Betis away saw Sevilla bounce back from a 2-1 loss at the hands of Granada at the beginning of the new calendar year 2016. It was Los Rojiblancos’ first defeat following a nine-match unbeaten stretch in all competitions. Unay Emeri’s men went on to notch back-to-back wins and are now coming off from their 2-0 triumph over Athletic Bilbao last weekend. Sevilla climbed above their weekend’s opposition up to sixth in La Liga standings thanks to Kevin Gameiro’s brace. The 28-year-old France forward has netted his ninth goal in 19 La Liga appearances and he has been the most prolific striker in his team this entire season. Los Rojiblancos did move up the ladder, but are still ten points behind Villarreal in fourth and face an uphill battle to fulfil the season’s ambitions. Sevilla will look to bolster their ranks and former defender Fazio is already in advanced talks over rejoining the club just 17 months after his move to Tottenham. As the team prepares for the return leg with Real Betis, it is worth mentioning that the hosts have lost only one of their last nine meetings, and that Emeri’s team will do their best to head into the quarter-finals.
Beto remains on the sidelines together with Gale Kakuta, who are both long-term absentees. In addition, Marko Andreolli will be unavailable through his Achiles tendon injury. Vicente Iborra is suspended for the occasion.
Can Real Betis end their losing run?
December has been the frustrating month for Real Betis, who have been hoping for a different scenario in their first season back in the top tier. La Liga newcomers have last won late in November, when they managed to defeat Levante away, but have since then went on to record eight games without a win. Their latest slump at Getafe was crucial for Pepe Mel, who has been sacked from his post. Mel left his team hovering above the relegation zone, in the 15th place of the standings, but only five points ahead of the teams below the dropping line. Pepe Mel was appointed Betis coach for the second time back in December 2014 and had ultimately led them to promotion by winning the second division. Heading into their return leg against Sevilla, Beticos will have no manager to take care of the team as the club’s hierarchy did not name a successor at the moment when this article was written. In addition to poor results, it has to be noted that Real Betis failed to score in their last five games and they will have little hope in their visit to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Vincenzo Rennella is out due to his knee injury, while the hosts will also have to do without Heiko Westermann and Alvaro Vadillo, who are injured for the event. Alfred N-Diaye will sit through the game with suspension.
Real Betis are coming to town without a manager, idea and motivation to turn the tables around and getback on their feet. Sevilla have picked up their pace and will be expected to secure their place in the next stage of the competition and to uphold their lead from the first game.
Top pick: HT/FT Home win 1.94 (15/16) @888sport
Alternative pick 1: Gameiro to score anytime 1.67 (4/6) @Bet365
Alternative pick 2: Over 3.5 goals 2.63 (13/8) @BetFred