Real Betis Balompie scored three goals in five minutes to keep alive their hopes of European soccer next season as they hammered Granada 5-1 away to climb to sixth in La Liga on Friday.
Ruben Castro scored twice and set up a third, becoming the joint-highest Spanish scorer in La Liga alongside Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo with 15 goals. With eight games left, Betis are level on 47 points with fifth-placed Malaga, who they trail due to an inferior head-to-head record.
Real Sociedad, who are fourth with 48 points and occupy the last Champions League qualifying berth, were due to host Malaga yesterday. Castro, 31, showed great composure to pick his spot and fire past Tono in a crowded area in the 30th minute, opening up a typically intense regional derby at Los Carmenes.
Betis’ Dorlan Pabon raced clear two minutes later only to see his lob come back off the crossbar, but Castro was on hand to score again for the visitors.
Granada were still reeling from that double blow when goalkeeper Tono raced out to meet a Betis free-kick but missed his punch. Paulao’s header hit the bar only for home defender Inigo Lopez to inadvertently bundle the ball into his own net.
Granada were undone again at the start of the second half when Castro pulled the ball back for Pabon to stroke in the fourth. Carlos Aranda’s diving header in the 72nd helped Granada salvage some pride, but they finished with 10 men after Guilherme Siqueira was sent off in the 80th.
Betis’ Angel Lopez completed the rout by scoring on a counter-attack at the end.
Granada have claimed only two points from their last seven games, and sit just four points above the relegation zone.