Real Betis will continue their quest for European football next season when they host Rayo Vallecano on Monday.
The hosts come into this tie on the back of a 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao. That result kept them in sixth position, four points ahead of Girona in seventh. So their dream of playing in the Europa League remains intact.
However, manager Manuel Pellegrini has publicly admitted he is “not confident” that his side will qualify for European football next season because of their recent form.
At one point this season, Betis looked certain to secure a UEFA Champions League spot for the first time since 2005/06, but four losses in their last seven La Liga outings (W2, D1) scuppered that dream.
While that claim by Pellegrini looks like a motivational tactic, the fact that the hosts have just three wins from their last eleven home league outings (D4, L4) shows why he might be keen to incentivise his squad.
Meanwhile, Rayo Vallecano travel to Estadio Benito Villamarín looking to make it back-to-back league wins. They come into this tie on the back of a 2-1 home win over Real Valladolid at home.
That win kept them on track to achieving their dream of qualifying for European football for only the second time in the club’s history. However, the Red Sashes are on a worryingly poor run on the road, losing four of their last six away fixtures (D2).
They don’t have happy memories in this fixture, having won only one of their last ten H2Hs (D4, L5), and that was a penalty shoot-out win in the Copa del Rey.
That said, Real Betis have lost eleven of the 13 league games in which they conceded the first goal (W2), so Vallecano will feel they have a chance after scoring first in three of their last four away games.
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