A goal by Borja Iglesias, in a genius three minutes into the second half, gave Betis the victory (1-0) against a Mallorca with good defense, but without punch, which allows the Sevillians to redeem themselves from their elimination from the Europa League against Manchester United and continue to hunt for Champions League places.
After a first half with few chances, although with more initiative and attacks from the locals, Betis came out with more verve in the second and a brilliant action by Borja allowed him to add three golden points in his career for the 'Champions', by purposely deflecting a shot from Senegalese Youssuf Sabaly to win again after two straight draws in the League, while Mallorca accumulates more than four months without winning away.
Two teams with conflicting objectives were measured, but both needed victory to continue in the race for a place in 'Champions, in the case of the Béticos, and to gain peace of mind and establish themselves in the middle zone, in the case of the vermilions. From the benches, 'old foxes' such as the Chilean Manuel Pellegrini and the Mexican Javier Aguirre proposed the expected match, highly contested and with very different and defined playing roles.
Pellegrini, after the wear and tear of elimination in the round of 16 round of the Europa League by Manchester United (0-1), brought out a very offensive eleven, with the creativity and joy in attack represented by Canales and Rodri, close to the tips Borja Iglesias and Ayoze Pérez. The first three returned to ownership, together with the winger Juan Miranda and the Mexican midfielder Andrés Guardado.
Meanwhile, and with the slab of having added only one point from the last 9, plus the five consecutive defeats away from a team that has not won for four months away from Palma, Vasco Aguirre only presented a novelty compared to the 1-1 of the last day against Real Sociedad, with the return after suspension of the Kosovar Vedat Muriqi, who has 10 league goals.
The duel began with intensity, very competitive from the different styles and proposals of both teams, with Betis having much more possession and always taking the initiative, but without finding spaces or good connections between Canales and Rodri with the gunners Ayoze and Borja Iglesias, well covered by the crowded Majorcan defense.
Mallorca, super-organized at the back and without giving up going against it with the South Korean Kang In Lee and Muriqi, a nuisance due to his bulk and opportunism, did not flinch at the offensive attempts of a Betis who brushed the goal with two shots in the first quarter of an hour from Guardado and Miranda, after a great pass into the gap by Canales, which did not find a goal.
The béticos commanded with the ball and dominated a very firm Balearic team in defense, with the lines very close together and without falling into precipitation. He also looked for verticality to put the Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Silva in trouble, but he did not enjoy chances, except for two warnings from Muriqi, although in both actions, with a goal disallowed in the last one, he was called offside.
Betis kept trying, but it was very predictable to really hurt a solid and well-placed rival, although after half an hour Ayoze outpaced several opponents and his strike from the front, after bouncing off a defender, blocked it Rajkovic, after which the Sevillians claimed a penalty for a handball from a rival that the referee did not consider punishable.
At the restart it did not seem easy for the script to change excessively, but, nevertheless, the Verdiblanco team came out more fiery, with verve, and reaped its fruits after 3 minutes, when Borja Iglesias, in an action as a rascal and opportunistic striker, consciously deflected a shot from Senegalese Sabaly to fit the opposite post that Rajkovic had dived for.
The 1-0 gave peace of mind to the Andalusian team, which continued to dominate despite the fact that Mallorca, in which Aguirre moved the 'tree' looking for more depth, wanted to take a step forward. With the Swede Augustinsson, Antonio Sánchez and the Zimbabwean striker Tino Kadewere for Costa, Dani Rodríguez and Babá, he sought to be more vertical, although Betis did not allow it.
The Betic team, now more established and without any hurry, controlled well the attempts of the Mallorcans, who had a hard time generating clear goal options because the ball continued to be the almost exclusive property of Pellegrini's men, who reinforced their midfield with the Portuguese William Carvalho for Ayoze and put 'gunpowder' with Juanmi for Rodri.
Aguirre also reacted by taking out two more forwards, first the Senegalese Amath Ndiaye through the winger Maffeo and, with a quarter of an hour to go, Abdón Prats through Muriqi, today less active and effective than other times. They risked everything in pursuit of the equalizer, but it hardly disturbed a controlling Betis and who also brought Joaquín onto the field to have more of the ball for an excellent Canales.
Mallorca was able to equalize through Kadewere at minute 80, but he crossed his shot excessively inside the big area, and did not even scare a safe and solid Betis in the final stretch, which was even able to extend its lead in minute 92 in a Sabaly was saved by Rajkovic, who, like Canales and Miranda, his teammate on the other side, had a great game.
Betis: Rui Silva; Sabaly, Pezzella (Victor Ruiz, m.83), Edgar, Miranda; Guido Rodriguez, Guard; Channels (Joaquin, m.82), Ayoze (William Carvalho, m.69), Rodri (John, m.69); Borja Churches (Willian Joseph, m.92).
Mallorca: Rajkovic; Maffeo (Amath, m.71), Gio Gonzalez, Raillo, Nastasic, Jaume Costa (Augustinson, m.57); Dani Rodriguez (Antonio Sanchez, m.57), Ruiz de Galarreta, Baba (Kadewere, m.57), Kang In Lee; Seed (Abdon, m.76).
Goal: 1-0, M.48: Borja Iglesias.
Referee: Valentín Pizarro Gómez (Madrid Committee). He admonished the local Guardado (m.80) and on the visiting side Jaume Costa (m.30), Nastasic (m.54) and his coach, Javier Aguirre (m.85).
Incidents: Match of the twenty-sixth day of LaLiga Santander, played at the Benito Villamarín stadium in front of 50,402 spectators.