BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — After Lionel Messi scored a wonderful third goal to complete his 51st career hat trick, Real Betis supporters did what only true fans can do when in the presence of genuine...
MADRID (AP) — Francisco "Isco" Alarcon has been left out of the Spain squad, paying the price for not playing often enough for Real Madrid under coach Santiago Solari.
Valencia defeats Betis, will face Barcelona in Copa final
MADRID (AP) — There will be no final at home for Real Betis.
The team's Benito Villamarin Stadium in Seville will host the Copa del Rey final this season, but Betis won't be there after...
Valencia scores late to draw with Betis in Copa semifinal
MADRID (AP) — Valencia is getting used to some late heroics in the Copa del Rey.
After scoring twice in stoppage time to advance from the quarterfinals last week, Valencia salvaged a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the semifinals against Real Betis thanks to an injury-time equalizer.
Atletico loses on Morata debut, Real Madrid beats Alaves
MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid lost its first Spanish league game since September on the day of Alvaro Morata's much-anticipated debut.
The newly signed striker had a lackluster debut as second-placed Atletico lost 1-0 at Real Betis on Sunday to miss its chance to move closer to league leader Barcelona.
Real Betis’ stadium to host Copa del Rey final
MADRID (AP) — Real Betis' Benito Villamarin Stadium in Seville will host the Copa del Rey final this season.
The Spanish federation picked the venue Monday over Valencia's Mestalla Stadium for the match on May 25.
Real Betis is in the quarterfinals. It drew 1-1 with Espanyol in the first leg. The second leg is Wednesday at the 61,000-capacity Villamarin.
Ceballos late goal saves Madrid from another slip in Spain
SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — Substitute Dani Ceballos scored from a free kick in the final minutes to save Real Madrid from another setback in the Spanish league title race on Sunday.
Ceballos sent his strike through a gap in the defensive wall to claim the winning goal in a 2-1 victory at Real Betis.
Ceballos, who joined Madrid from Betis before the start of last season, went on in the 74th minute to jeers from Betis fans and with Madrid on the defensive.
Madrid striker Karim Benzema injures right hand
MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema had to be substituted at halftime of Sunday's Spanish league match at Real Betis after hurting his right hand.
Madrid coach Santiago Solari said Benzema had fractured his hand.
Betis fans shower pitch with stuffed toys for charity
SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — It was raining stuffed toys at the stadium of Spanish club Real Betis on Saturday.
Many of the 49,000 spectators tossed stuffed toys onto the pitch at Benito Villamarin Stadium duing halftime of the match against Eibar in an initiative by the club to collect toys for needy children for the winter holidays.
The result was a colorful cascade of furry animals falling from the stands, and volunteers scrambling to collect them all before the second half.
Europa League Draw List
NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Draw Monday for the last 32 of the Europa League:
Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic) vs. Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)
Club Brugge (Belgium) vs. Salzburg (Austria)
Rapid Vienna (Austria) vs. Inter Milan (Italy)
Slavia Prague (Czech Republic) vs. Genk (Belgium)
Krasnodar (Russia) vs. Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
Zurich (Switzerland) vs. Napoli (Italy)
Malmo (Sweden) vs. Chelsea (England)
Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) vs. Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
Inspired by Cruyff, Betis coach gets big win at Barcelona
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Betis coach Quique Setien likes to say that he would give his little finger to have had the honor of playing for Johan Cruyff.
That didn't stop him for masterminding a 4-3 victory Sunday at Barcelona, a team that claims Cruyff as the creator of its playing style.
Betis deals Barcelona 1st home league loss in 2 years
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Not even two goals by Lionel Messi could save Barcelona from its first Spanish league home defeat in more than two years on Sunday when Real Betis won 4-3 at Camp Nou.
Real Madrid took advantage of Barcelona's unexpected slip by winning 4-2 at Celta Vigo to close the gap on the leaders.
Betis never trailed as it ended Barcelona's run of 42 unbeaten home games in the league that dated back to a 2-1 defeat to Alaves in September 2016.
Barcelona loses 4-3 to Betis despite 2 goals by Messi
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored twice on his return from a broken arm but Barcelona conceded four goals and was reduced to 10 men in a 4-3 home defeat to Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.
The loss ended an unbeaten run of 42 consecutive home games for Barcelona in the league dating back to a 2-1 defeat to Alaves on Sept. 10, 2016.
Barcelona midfielder Coutinho out 2-3 weeks with leg injury
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona and Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho will be sidelined for two to three weeks with a left leg injury.
Barcelona says on Thursday that medical tests revealed Coutinho has a "small tear" in an unnamed muscle.
Coutinho apparently was injured on Tuesday during the 1-1 draw at Inter Milan in the Champions League.
Coutinho will miss a Spanish league match on Sunday against Real Betis, and the international break when Brazil has friendlies against Uruguay and Cameroon.
Gattuso’s intensity making an impact at AC Milan
ROME (AP) — Gennaro Gattuso's ability to transmit his own combative spirit to his AC Milan players didn't just save his job during the Rossoneri's roughest stretch of the season, it also propelled the team into the Champions League places.
A week ago, Milan was in crisis following a last-gasp derby defeat to Inter Milan and a discouraging loss at home to Real Betis in the Champions League.
Its next two matches, however, were hard-fought victories over Sampdoria and Genoa in the Italian league.
Loftus-Cheek hat trick lifts Chelsea, shock defeat for Milan
Ruben Loftus-Cheek became the first England player in 47 years to score a hat trick in European competition for Chelsea on Thursday.
The 22-year-old midfielder, who featured when his country reached the semifinals of the World Cup in Russia in July, forgot about his frustrations at being unable to win a regular starting place at Chelsea by bagging all three goals as the London club swept to a 3-1 victory over BATE Borisov in the Europa League.
Betis veteran posts joke video about Spain omission
MADRID (AP) — Real Betis veteran Joaquin Sanchez posted a joke Instagram video on Thursday, asking Spain coach Luis Enrique why he had not been included in the national squad.
The 37-year-old midfielder has won more than 50 caps, but has not played for his country since 2007.
"I have two missed calls here and I don't know if they are from you or not?" Sanchez asked. "Please call me. I'm worried."
Betis joins pack at top of Spanish league as leaders slip
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Betis joined a group of seven teams separated by only three points at the top of the Spanish league after squeaking out a 1-0 win at home over Leganes on Sunday.
Repeated slips by leader Barcelona and second-place Real Madrid have given hope to a pack of pursuers after seven rounds.
Milan to play Luxembourg newcomer in Europa League group
MONACO (AP) — Seven-time European champion AC Milan's reward for being reinstated in the Europa League includes a trip to Luxembourg.
Milan, which won a Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal to overturn expulsion for breaking financial rules, was drawn Friday into a group with newcomer Dudelange. The group also includes Olympiakos and Real Betis.
In a September 1972 trip to Luxembourg, Milan beat Red Boys Differdange 4-1 to start its run to the European Cup-Winners' Cup title.
Misfiring Betis must jump start attack in Seville derby
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Betis entered this season with high hopes after building on a squad that deployed one of the most attractive attacks in the Spanish league.
But the team has zero goals and only one point from two matches before it faces a derby on Sunday against a Sevilla side that is eager to restore its status as the top team in the city.
Morales scores twice as Levante wins 3-0 at Real Betis
MADRID (AP) — Jose Luis Morales scored twice as Levante won 3-0 at Real Betis in the opening round of the Spanish league on Friday.
Levante's 4-4-2 formation worked to clinical effect as his strike partner Roger Marti gave Levante the lead close to halftime, tapping in after right midfielder Jason cut through the Betis defense.
Japan midfielder Inui gets embassy introduction
TOKYO (AP) — Japan midfielder Takashi Inui was introduced by La Liga team Real Betis at the Spanish Embassy in Tokyo on Thursday after impressing at the World Cup.
The 30-year-old Inui, who played for Spanish club Eibar for three seasons, said he has a three-year contract with Betis.
"Betis' football last season was very attractive for me," Inui said. "I had a strong feeling that I wanted to be a part of the team."
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Valencia was assured of a top-four finish in the Spanish league and a berth in next season's Champions League after Real Betis lost at Athletic Bilbao 2-0 on Saturday.
The defeat left fifth-place Betis eight points behind Valencia in fourth with two games left for the Seville-based club.
Iker Munian headed in a cross from Inigo Lekeu for Bilbao's opener in the 76th minute, and Aritz Aduriz scored from a pass by Inaki Williams in stoppage time.
MADRID (AP) — Real Betis defeated last-place Malaga 2-1 in the Spanish league on Monday to keep alive its hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.
Betis' seventh win in eight matches left the team eight points behind third-place Valencia with three matches left. The result secured Betis a place in the Europa League for the first time in four years.
Atletico held 0-0 by Betis ahead of visit to Arsenal
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Second-place Atletico Madrid was held 0-0 at home by Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday in a second straight setback before Diego Simeone's team faces Arsenal in the Europa League semifinals.
Atletico, which lost 3-0 at Real Sociedad midweek, visits Arsenal in the first leg on Thursday.
Barcelona remains the overwhelming favorite to win La Liga, leading Atletico by 11 points. Third-place Real Madrid is another four points behind Atletico.
MADRID (AP) — Valencia's struggles to clinch a Champions League spot continued in a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo in the Spanish league on Saturday.
It was the third straight match without a victory for Valencia, allowing fifth-place Real Betis to continue to move closer in the fight for the final spot for Europe's top club competition.
Atletico defeat leaves Barcelona on brink of title
MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid lost 3-0 at Real Sociedad on Thursday, leaving Barcelona one victory away from clinching the Spanish league title.
Barcelona, which drew 2-2 at Celta Vigo on Tuesday without most of its regular starters, can secure its 25th crown at Deportivo La Coruna on April 29.
The Catalan club faces Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday.
MADRID (AP) — Real Betis beat Girona 1-0 for its fifth straight win in the Spanish league on Friday, moving a step closer to a Europa League spot next season.
Loren Moron scored late in the first half as Betis strengthened its hold on fifth place. Betis moved five points ahead of sixth-place Villarreal and six clear of Sevilla in seventh spot. They have both played one games less than Betis.
Late winner moves Betis into 6th in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) — Sergio Leon scored an 89th-minute winner as Real Betis defeated Getafe 1-0 in the Spanish league on Monday, moving into the qualification zone for the Europa League.
Betis jumped from eighth to sixth in the standings with its third straight victory. It is one point behind fifth-place Villarreal.
The teams in fifth, sixth, and seventh places qualify for the Europa League.
MADRID (AP) — Lorenzo "Loren" Moron scored in each half as Real Betis defeated Alaves 3-1 in the Spanish league on Monday, moving closer to a Europa League spot next season.
Betis jumped to eighth place, three points behind Girona, the first team securing a berth in next season's second-tiered European competition.
Teams in fifth and sixth places automatically qualify for the Europa League, while the seventh-place club goes through a qualifying round.
Real Betis boosts European hopes with 2-0 win at Levante
VALENCIA, Spain (AP) — Real Betis boosted its European qualification hopes in defeating struggling Levante 2-0 to move to seventh in the Spanish league on Monday.
Betis jumped three places from 10th and is just three points behind city rival Sevilla, beaten at home by Atletico Madrid 5-2 on Sunday.
Sergio Leon sealed Betis' 11th win, already more in 25 games than the side managed all last season.
Atletico stays in touch with Barca, Madrid wins 5-3 at Betis
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Atletico Madrid stayed within sight of Barcelona while Real Madrid's attack bailed out its porous defense in the Spanish league on Sunday.
Diego Costa and Kevin Gameiro scored second-half goals to give Atletico a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao and keep it seven points behind Barcelona at the top of the table.
Atletico will visit Barcelona on March 4 in what could be its last chance to inject some drama into the title race.
Batshuayi in, Auba out; Dortmund dominates deadline day
BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund dominated the end of the transfer window in Germany with a flurry of activity that saw star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leave and Michy Batshuayi take his place on Wednesday.
The Bundesliga club also made what it called a "big concession" on the transfer fee to allow defender Marc Bartra to go to Real Betis after a tumultuous Bundesliga spell, while it signed promising winger Sergio Gomez from Barcelona.
Marc Bartra leaves Borussia Dortmund to join Real Betis
DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Spanish defender Marc Bartra is leaving Borussia Dortmund to join Real Betis.
Dortmund said it made a "big concession" on the transfer fee to allow Bartra return to Spain after what has been a tumultuous spell in the Bundesliga.
Aspas scores twice as Celta defeats Betis in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) — Celta Vigo stayed within range of the Champions League spots by defeating Real Betis 3-2 at home with two goals by forward Iago Aspas in the Spanish league on Monday.
Aspas scored in each half to lead Celta to seventh place after 21 matches. It is seven points behind fourth-place Real Madrid.
Betis could have moved up six spots — from 13th to seventh — if it had won at Balaidos Stadium in Vigo.
Messi, Suarez score twice as Barcelona extends league lead
SEVILLE, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored twice as Barcelona won 5-0 at Real Betis on Sunday with five second-half goals to increase its Spanish league lead.
Ivan Rakitic also scored for the Catalan club, which moved 11 points ahead of Atletico Madrid at the start of La Liga's second half.
After 20 rounds, Barcelona has a 14-point lead over third-placed Valencia, and is 19 points in front of rival Real Madrid, which has a game in hand.
Blood, goals for Ronaldo as Madrid scores 7 to end poor run
MADRID (AP) — Despite watching Cristiano Ronaldo go off covered in blood, Real Madrid fans got to celebrate at home again with the team's biggest win of the season in the Spanish league.
Ronaldo, who left the game late with a cut to his face, scored twice as Madrid routed Deportivo La Coruna 7-1 Sunday, ending a three-match winless streak at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium and easing the pressure on coach Zinedine Zidane and his players.
Castro gives Betis win over Leganes on return to Spain
MADRID (AP) — Veteran forward Ruben Castro made a dream return to the Spanish league, converting a late penalty for Real Betis to beat Leganes 3-2 on Monday.
Castro, in his return after a stint in Chinese soccer, calmly scored in the 83rd minute, securing the victory after the hosts relinquished a two-goal lead.
The club's all-time leading scorer entered the match only eight minutes earlier.
23 arrested after fighting between Sevilla and Betis fans
MADRID (AP) — Spanish authorities say that 23 people have been arrested for participating in a fight between fans of Sevilla and Real Betis hours before the teams play each other in a league match.
The emergency services for Sevilla said via Twitter on Saturday that police intervened to make the arrests of "at least 23 people."
They add that the rival fan groups had arranged the meeting in order to fight.
Griezmann to miss Atletico’s match at Betis
MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann will miss Sunday's Spanish league game at Real Betis.
Griezmann was left off Atletico's squad announced by coach Diego Simeone on Saturday after he failed to recover from an unspecified injury. The club had said the player felt pain in his right thigh following Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Chelsea in the Champions League.
Simeone says that "it's clear that no other player on our team has the characteristics of Griezmann."
Cadiz eliminates Real Betis in Copa del Rey thriller
MADRID (AP) — Real Betis became the latest top-tier casualty in the Copa del Rey this week, failing to advance to the last 16 after a 5-3 loss to second-division club Cadiz on Thursday.
Betis was eliminated 6-5 on aggregate, joining Malaga, Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao as top-flight teams eliminated by lower-tier opponents in the Round of 32.
It was a thrilling match at Benito Villamarin Stadium in Seville, with both teams pressing forward from the start.
Eibar routs Betis 5-0 to snap 8-game winless streak in Spain
MADRID (AP) — Eibar routed 10-man Real Betis 5-0 in the Spanish league on Monday, ending an eight-match winless streak in all competitions.
Eibar hadn't won since Sept. 15. It had lost six of its eight matches since then.
The hosts got on the board with an own goal by Betis defender Jordi Amat just six minutes in, and midfielder Gonzalo Escalante scored with a header near halftime.
Real Betis rallies to draw with Getafe 2-2 in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) — Ryad Boudebouz scored an 87th-minute equalizer as Real Betis came back from two goals down to draw with Getafe 2-2 in the Spanish league on Friday.
The Algerian midfielder scored with a low shot from outside the area, his first goal since joining the club in the offseason.
Markel Bergara opened the scoring for the visitors with a header into the top corner, and Francisco Portillo added to Getafe's lead about 15 minutes later with a shot from inside the area.
Deportivo La Coruna beats Las Palmas 3-1 in Spanish league
MADRID (AP) — Midfielder Celso Borges scored in each half to help Deportivo La Coruna defeat Las Palmas 3-1 in a match between teams near the bottom of the Spanish league on Monday.
Lucas Perez also scored for Deportivo, which on Thursday lost to Las Palmas 4-1 in a first-leg match in the Copa del Rey round of 32.
Loic Remy opened the scoring for struggling Las Palmas seven minutes into the match at Gran Canaria Stadium.
Valencia thrashes Real Betis 6-3 to move 2nd in Spain
MADRID (AP) — Valencia spent the last couple of seasons trying to avoid relegation in the Spanish league.
After eight matches this season, it's already looking to dethrone Barcelona from the top of the standings.
Valencia reached second place with an emphatic 6-3 win at Real Betis on Sunday, moving to within four points of Barcelona, which lost its perfect record after a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid on Saturday.
Betis routs Levante 4-0 for its third straight win in Spain
MADRID (AP) — Real Betis kept the momentum from its stunning win at Real Madrid by thrashing Levante 4-0 and moving closer to the top of the Spanish league on Monday.
Forward Antonio Sanabria, who scored the injury-time winner against Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium last week, netted a goal in each half against Levante to lead Real Betis to its third straight victory.
The Seville club moved to fifth place, one spot ahead of Madrid. It trails leader Barcelona by six points.
Ceballos scores 2 in first start as Real Madrid win
VITORIA, Spain (AP) — Dani Ceballos scored twice in his first start for Real Madrid and helped it earn a much-needed 2-1 win at Alaves in the Spanish league on Saturday.
The win came three days after Madrid lost at home to Real Betis 1-0. This was only Madrid's third win in six rounds.
Ceballos struck in the 10th minute and restored the defending champions' advantage two minutes before halftime.
The winless Alaves almost leveled late when substitute Alfonso Pedraza twice hit the woodwork.
Real Madrid adds Marcelo to list of injured players
MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid says defender Marcelo has joined its growing list of injured players after tearing a muscle in his left leg.
Marcelo injured his leg during the second half of Wednesday's 1-0 home loss to Real Betis. The club did not specify how long he would be sidelined.