Real Betis and Villarreal stay perfect in Europe after holding off fightbacks

It was a fine night for Spanish sides in Europe on Thursday, as all three in action preserved perfect records.

In the early slot, Real Sociedad beat Omonia Nicosia 2-1 to ensure they kept Manchester United at arm’s length.

Later on, Real Betis welcomed Ludogrets to the Benito Villamarin in an entertaining match. Their attacking ambition was rewarded in the first half through Luiz Henrique’s first ever Betis goal. Shortly before half time, Joaquin became the oldest goalscorer ever in the Europa League with a stunning effort.

However Ludogorets had threatened and after forcing Claudio Bravo into an excellent save previously, Kiril Despodov caught him out at his near post in first-half stoppage time from a free-kick.

The second half saw Ludogorets attempt to push forward, but losing the ball around 30 yards from goal allowed Sergio Canales to fire a shot off, which slipped through the keeper’s outstretched hand. A precise strike from Rick gave the Bulgarians hope. Ultimately Betis staved off a dramatic comeback. Los Verdiblancos top their group with six points ahead of a double-header with Roma.

Meanwhile Manuel Pellegrini’s former side Villarreal travelled to Israel to take on Hapoel Beer Sheva. A Jose Luis Morales penalty, won by Alex Baena, gave them a first half lead. It looked as if things might get a bit more tricky for them in the second half when Rotem Hatuel equalised.

The in-form Baena acrobatically ensured that Unai Emery would be taking three points back to Spain when he converted Yeremy Pino’s cross just four minutes later.

The Yellow Submarine top their group ahead of Lech Poznan on three points, with their next two games coming against Austria Vienna.

Tags Europa Conference League Europa League Hapoel Beer Sheva Ludogorets Real Betis Villarreal
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