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Spanish Primera BBVA

Manuel Ruiz de Lopera (ATT 37,000) 21st January 2013 - Kick off 20:30 Ref: M Ayza Gamez

Real Betis Real Betis vs Athletic Bilbao Ath Bilbao

Real Betis 1

Ruben Castro (pen 2)

ft

Ath Bilbao 1

A Aduriz (41)

Draw keeps Betis fourth

Last Updated: 21/01/13 11:11pm

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Ruben Castro had given the hosts the lead

Ruben Castro had given the hosts the lead

Real Betis consolidated their advantage over Malaga in fourth place, but were thankful to goalkeeper Adrian for a string of late saves to salvage a point against Athletic Bilbao.

The hosts could not have wished for a better start as Ruben Castro put them in front from the penalty spot after just two minutes after Gorka Iraizoz brought down Salva Sevilla.

However, after Adrian produced his first impressive save of the night to turn behind a brilliant volley from Ander Herrera, Athletic levelled four minutes before half-time as Aritz Aduriz showed wonderful composure to scoop Ander's through-ball over the advancing keeper.

Both sides had chances to win it after the break with Jorge Molina the main culprit for the hosts, but it was Adrian who stole the show as he made late saves from Aduriz and Markel Susaeta to ensure his side did not fall to a sixth home defeat of the season.

Athletic started the match just three points above the relegation zone after wins for Granada and Osasuna over the weekend and Marcelo Bielsa's men looked set to be dragged even further into the relegation mix after a terrible opening 10 minutes.

Iraizoz was rightly adjudged to have clipped Sevilla just inside the area in Betis' first attack of the game and Castro gave the keeper no chance with the resulting penalty as he slotted away his 12th league goal of the season.

Castro then had another effort turned away by Iraizoz and Joel Campbell also fired over as Athletic struggled to contain the early Betis onslaught.

But slowly they started to gain a foothold in the game and would have had a spectacular equaliser midway through the half had Adrian not managed to get an outstretched hand to Ander's dipping volley from 25 yards.

The Athletic playmaker did have a hand in the goal when the equaliser arrived, though, as he slipped Aduriz in behind the Betis defence and the former Valencia striker joined Castro as the joint top Spanish goalscorer in the league with a lovely delicate finish from the edge of the area.

Molina then came close on two occasions just after the hour mark as he first volleyed Campbell's cross off-target before heading over a clearer opportunity from another ball in by the Costa Rican.

However, thereafter it was the visitors who dominated and they could count themselves unlucky not to return home with all three points.

Aymeric Laporte was first to threaten with a shot from inside the box that crept just wide before Aduriz was denied by a smart save from Adrian.

Ibai Gomez also fired off-target and Adrian again got down well to turn Susaeta's fierce drive behind as Betis clung on in the final few minutes to restore their three-point gap over Malaga in the race for the final Champions League place.

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Matches

Table

Spanish Primera BBVA

Spanish Primera BBVA
Pos Team P Pts
1 Barcelona 28 68
2 Real Madrid 28 64
3 Valencia 28 60
4 Atletico Madrid 28 59
5 Sevilla 28 55
6 Villarreal 28 49
7 Malaga 28 44
8 Athletic Bilbao 28 39
9 Real Sociedad 28 36
10 Celta Vigo 28 35
11 Rayo Vallecano 28 35
12 Espanyol 28 34
13 Getafe 28 29
14 Eibar 28 28
15 Elche 28 27
16 Deportivo La Coruna 28 26
17 Almeria 28 25
18 Levante 28 25
19 Granada 28 23
20 Cordoba 28 18