Ten-man Real Betis go top with perfect record


Ten-man Real Betis survived a late scare to maintain their 100 percent record with a 4-3 victory over Real Zaragoza on Thursday and open a two-point lead at the top of La Liga. It has been a remarkable start for the Andalusian side who have taken the top flight by storm with their adventurous attacking football after a season in the second division. Roque Santa Cruz scored the first of a double after just seven minutes and Salva Sevilla extended the lead from the penalty spot before Efrain Juarez pulled a goal back for Zaragoza still before half time.
Betis never looked particularly secure at the back but another penalty this time from Benat Etxebarria and Santa Cruz’s second on 49 minutes gave them a comfortable cushion. However midway through the second half Betis keeper Casto Espinosa rashly darted off his line and was red carded for upending Luis Garcia despite the fact that he did have defenders behind him.
A double from Juan Carlos led to some anxious last minutes for Betis but they held on. Super-sub Walter Pandiani scored an injury time winner as Espanyol beat Getafe 1-0 and condemned their rivals to their third successive defeat. Getafe had not won away since January and their confidence was not high after a poor start to the season but they were up against an Espanyol team who had also suffered two defeats from three games. There was plenty of toil but little flowing football in the first half. However, after the break Espanyol took the game to the visitors. Javi Marquez saw a deflected shot go just wide and Alberto Lopo blocked a Weiss strike on the goal line but it was really keeper Miguel Moya who was keeping Espanyol at bay.