HomeFootballLa Liga returns: Sevilla beat rivals Real Betis 2-0

La Liga returns: Sevilla beat rivals Real Betis 2-0

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The Spanish league resumed Thursday after 93 days of halt with Sevilla defeating Real Betis 2-0 in the Seville derby.

La Liga became the second top European league to resume, after the Bundesliga.

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The Premier League and the Italian league are set to follow next week.

A minute of silence before kick-off to remember victims of Covid-19 ahead of Sevilla and Real Betis match. (Credits: Twitter)
A minute of silence before kick-off to remember victims of Covid-19 ahead of Sevilla and Real Betis match. (Credits: Twitter)

There were strict health guidelines in place as the topflight resumed, with ball boys being asked to disinfect the ball every time it left the field and players being told to maintain a “safe distance” when talking to the referee.

Virtual supporters and Prerecorded Chants

Players were also asked to “minimize physical contact” during goal celebrations, though there were lots of hugging and plenty of contact between Sevilla players after scoring goals.

After the match, players also hugged each other and celebrated in front of the empty stands, as if fans were present.

Empty stands during the Sevilla and Real Betis match in La Liga. (Credits: Twitter)
Empty stands during the Sevilla and Real Betis match as La Liga resumed. (Credits: Twitter)

“We dedicate the victory to them,” Ocampos said. “They couldn’t be here, but we felt their presence. We have to adapt to this moment.” 

Although fans were not allowed in the 43,000-capacity Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán Stadium, virtual crowds and prerecorded chants from fans were added to the television broadcast sent to the rest of the world.

Viewers in Spain were the only ones with the option of watching the original feed from the empty stadium.

Applause to infinity

A round of applause was played in the 20th minute as part of the “applause to infinity” tribute that the league will promote in every game to honour those fighting the pandemic in Spain.

The streets around the Sánchez-Pizjuán were mostly empty as barriers were placed around the stadium to keep fans from gathering though some of the Seville supporters still tried to gather outside the stadium.

More than 600 police officers and private security agents were summoned to work during the match. 

Ocampos masterclass

Ocampos was the key player throughout the Sevilla and Real Betis match as La Liga resumed. (Credits: Twitter)
Ocampos was the key player throughout the Sevilla and Real Betis match as La Liga resumed. (Credits: Twitter)

Ocampos was the key player throughout the game, shaking the crossbar from a narrow angle in the first half before breaking the deadlock from the penalty spot.

He then braced an ingenious back-heeled flick from a corner to find Fernando for the second goal.

The victory kept Sevilla in third place with 50 points, six fewer than second-place Real Madrid, which returns to action on Sunday against Eibar.

Leader Barcelona, two points ahead of Madrid, resumes at Mallorca on Saturday. Betis stayed in 12th place with 33 points.

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