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Betis knock out rivals Sevilla after suspended game resumes in 39th minute without fans


Madrid (AFP) – Real Betis and Sevilla resumed their suspended Copa del Rey match in the 39th minute and behind closed doors on Sunday as Sergio Canales sealed a 2-1 victory to send Betis into the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

The game was stopped on Saturday night with the score 1-1, after Sevilla’s Joan Jordan was struck on the head by an object -– a hollow, plastic pole — thrown from a Betis section of the crowd.

Jordan was unable to play on Sunday, with the midfielder recovering at home from a head injury after being taken to hospital on Saturday night.

The match had been stopped for around 45 minutes on Saturday night before the Spanish football federation confirmed its suspension. On Sunday came the order that it would restart at 4pm local time in an empty stadium.

Canales found the winner in the 73rd minute on Sunday although the silence in the ground was in start contrast to the bouncing Benito Villamarin that greeted the goals of Nabil Fekir and Sevilla’s Papu Gomez on Saturday.

Fekir’s wonder-strike, straight from a corner, came moments before Jordan was hit, with the object thrown as the Betis players celebrated.

“Everything has been a bit sad, that’s the reality,” said Canales after Betis’ win. 

“That should never happen in sport. It’s been hard, very weird. What happened doesn’t represent the fans of Betis, not at all, and not the players either.”

The result is a surprise, given Sevilla sit second in La Liga, 10 points ahead of Betis in third.

Canales said: “I think we deserved to win, from yesterday’s 40 minutes and today as well. We were superior.”

– Sevilla ‘disagreed’ –

Sevilla said on Sunday morning they “absolutely disagreed” with the decision to resume the game so soon, insisting “the sensible and fair thing… would be to look for a later date in which, at least, the player who suffered the aggression can play”.

But given an already-compressed calendar this season, the federation maintained the fixture needed to be played “as soon as possible”, adding that it was “practical… for organisation purposes” to play it at the same stadium.

“Taking into account the seriousness of the incident, the game will resume behind closed doors without fans,” said the federation on Sunday morning.

Sevilla made two changes to the team on Sunday as Marcos Acuna and Jules Kounde came in for Jordan and Nemanja Gudelj. Betis replaced Hector Bellerin with Youssouf Sabaly.

With 39 minutes on the clock, Sevilla kicked off and a total of five minutes were added on at the end of the half, with an extra minute added to the four carried over from Saturday.

Betis struck the winner in the 73rd minute as William Carvalho floated a ball over the top towards Canales, who jumped into the air and cushioned the ball with his left foot. His shot squirmed through the body of Sevilla’s 21-year-old goalkeeper Alfonso Pastor.

Betis join Mallorca, Rayo Vallecano, Cadiz and Valencia in the quarter-finals. Valencia defeated third tier side Atletico Baleares 1-0 earlier on Sunday. 

Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona play their ties later this week.

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