On October 25, Real Betis Balompié defeated AC Milan 2-1 on matchday 3 of the Europa League groups stages.
The win was impressive for the Sevillan side, beating the Italian giants in their own home stadium, the famous San Siro stadium in Milan. This is the first time the Spanish side has been in the Europa League since the 2013-2014 season. Los Beticos have started off the 2018-2019 Europa League campaign very well, sitting on top of group F, gaining 7 points from three games.
Real Betis played Greek powerhouse Olympiacos in their first group match, walking away with a 0-0 result in Athens. The team’s next group match would come back home to Seville as Real Betis hosted Luxembourg side Dudelange FC, winning the game convincingly 3-0.
This game against AC Milan was a big game for the Spanish side. Going to the San Siro and playing the historically powerful Milan team in their own home is never an easy game. Coming off a convincing win against Dudelange FC, Los Beticos were feeling confident, even in this away match. Striker Toni Sanabria struck first blood, scoring in the 29th minute. Later on in the 59th minute, midfielder Giovani Lo Celso would slot one past AC Milan to double the Betico’s lead. Eventually Italian striker and super sub Patrick Cutrone would come on to score a consolation goal for the Rossoneri in the 82nd minute, making the final score 2-1 to Real Betis.
Despite not having as much possession during the game as AC Milan, Real Betis dominated the midfield. The midfield trio of Carvalho, Canales and Lo Celso dictated the tempo of the game and controlled the center third, remaining patient with possession. This allowed Real Betis to move the ball from side to side, causing Milan to be sloppy with possession and for Betis’s left wing back Junior Firpo to be absolutely lethal on the left flank.
Coming off on the team’s best season in a long time, Real Betis look set to dominate the Europa League this season. After beating their bitter rivals Sevilla FC to claim 5th place in the 2017-2018 season, the Seville side qualified for the Europa League for the first time in nearly 5 years. The team looks to put pressure on rivals Sevilla FC and make a deep run in the Europa League this season, and after a great start and upsetting AC Milan at the San Siro to break their perfect start to the Europa League, it looks set to happen.
Real Betis have three more games in the group stages, hosting AC Milan and Olympiacos at home on November 8 and November 29 respectively, then closing out the group stages with an away match against Dudelange FC in Luxembourg. But at this rate, Los Beticos look to cement their place as a serious contender in the Europa League and potentially maintain their 1st place spot in Group F.

Luke Stergiou can be reached at lstergiou@kscequinox.com

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