(EFE) – Atlético de Madrid added a point (1-1) at the Benito Villamarín stadium in a gray match, where the best for their interests was the tie with which they maintain the leadership in LaLiga Santander with eight remaining days, although Betis put him in trouble with his desire to settle in the European zone, in which he is now ranked fifth.
Atlético had the problem of casualties that it brought accentuated during the game with the injuries of the Portuguese Joao Félix and the English defender Kieran Trippier, inconveniences that he noticed a lot against a rival who in the second half exposed more.
A goal by Cristian Tello in the twentieth minute countered the one scored by Belgian Yannick Carrasco at the start of the match. The scoreboard did not move any more in a meeting in which it seemed that both were satisfied with the tie.
Like seven days ago at Sánchez Pizjuán, Villamarín’s was another litmus test for Diego Simeone’s men, but now with even less margin for error after Real Madrid’s victory over Barcelona on Saturday, which unseated Atlético provisionally from a leadership in which he had been installed for months.
For this, the Argentine coach counted on the last-minute withdrawal of Frenchman Thomas Lemar for some discomfort in the back of the thigh, who joined those of Uruguayan Luis Suárez, Marcos Llorente and Frenchman Geoffrey Kondogbia, all three sanctioned, more the also French Moussa Dembélé, who continues with individualized training due to the slight drop in tension that caused him to faint two and a half weeks ago.
He was able to somewhat alleviate those absences with Belgian Yannick Carrasco, who already served a penalty game; the Portuguese Joao Félix, after two away games -sanction and injury-; and Montenegrin Stefan Savic, who did not play against Sevilla due to gastrointestinal problems.
Before them, Betis also played their thing in the fight to occupy European positions, and more after knowing previously the defeat of Villarreal at home against Osasuna and that Real Sociedad had not gone beyond the draw in the field of Valencia.
Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini also had significant casualties, that of forward Borja Iglesias and Mexican midfielder Andrés Guardado, both injured, plus that of central Víctor Ruiz, who was suspended.
Pellegrini revolutionized his line-up, to which center-back Marc Bartra returned after several months injured and in which he did not use any specific striker as a starting point and did use band players such as Aitor Ruibal, Joaquín Sánchez and Cristian Tello.
The visiting team could not start better, because in the first approach, and after a great combination play, Carrasco had the coldness inside the small area to beat the Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo with great solvency.
The goal came before the fifth minute was up and a new game began with the Madrid advantage against a rival who found Atlético intense and who had a hard time overcoming, to the point that before the first quarter of an hour was completed Saúl Ñíguez had a very clear one to put the 0-2, but the goalkeeper of the Verdiblancos responded very well to his header.
He forgave Atlético and Betis, in his first dangerous action, he found a good pass from Alex Moreno to Tello, who, as a false striker, skillfully finished from the center of the area impossible for the Slovenian Jan Oblak.
That new tie gave the locals energy to press ahead and force the visitors to play a lot and make plays but without the surprise factor of the start, with which the game entered balanced and with alternatives to the final stretch of the first period and the rest, to which Joao Félix arrived injured due to a blow to the right ankle in the last play.
The Portuguese came out in the second to test himself but immediately fell to the ground to be replaced by the Uruguayan Lucas Torreira, with which Atlético increased its problems of lack of troops in a match that remained even, with respect between both contenders and waiting for someone to make a mistake.
The first to try was the Brazilian side Emerson Royal with a header to which Oblak responded, but Betis saw some instability in the opponent and began to be more protagonist, even Pellegrini put Juanmi Jiménez in to look for more gunpowder.
Simeone also moved the bench, with the entry Víctor Machín ‘Vitolo’ and the Brazilian Renan Lodi, to recompose the drawing and recover sensations but Betis did not let him and even Aitor Ruibal and later his replacement, the Mexican Diego Lainez, enjoyed opportunities for 2-1.
In spite of everything, the Argentine Ángel Correa also had two already in the extension, but Claudio Bravo was attentive so that the marker did not move any more.