Real Betis snatch late winner against Roma in historic first win

Nabil Fekir of Real Betis is challenged by Paulo Dybala of AS Roma , Roger Ibanez of AS Roma and Nemanja Matic of AS Roma during the UEFA Europa League Group C stage match between AS Roma and Real Betis at Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy on 6 October 2022.

Manuel Pellegrini is making a habit of giving Real Betis fans memorable nights and on Thursday, he was responsible for another one.

Real Betis started the match well and nearly took the lead after Nabil Fekir hit the post early on. Sadly, it would be his last meaningful contribution as he limped off for Luiz Henrique after just 20 minutes.

Not long after, Aitor Ruibal handled the ball from a Roma corner and Paulo Dybala duly converted. It was looking like a depressing evening for Betis, when Luiz Enrique laid off Guido Rodriguez outside for the box. Hit with power and accuracy, it found the corner like an arrow.

The visitors were given a reprieve just before half-time as Niccolo Zaniolo turned a good chance onto the bar.

The second half saw Roma up the ante, but Pellegrini’s side showed their attrition as they fought and battled their way through. 

Just as the game seemed to be drifting to a draw, Rodri turned back inside and then back outside, hoisting a ball into the box. Luiz Henrique arrived at the back post and placed a header from some distance into the corner. A dramatic late winner with just minutes remaining, it silenced the Stadio Olimpico.

In stoppage time, Zaniolo completed a torrid night for Jose Mourinho as he was sent off for a kick off the ball. Real Betis travel home with a first win at the Stadio Olimpico, also breaking a 21-game unbeaten run for Roma at home in Europe. 

Sitting top of the group with a five point cushion on Ludogorets and a six point gap to Roma, the engineer’s plan is working.

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