SEVILLE, Spain – Real Betis had to settle for a 1-1 draw with AC Milan on Thursday in a Europa League match whose result complicated the battle for the two round-of-32 berths in Group F.
The outcome leaves Betis atop the group with 8 points from four matches. AC Milan are tied on points with Olympiacos with 7, but the Greek club have a better goal difference after pounding last-place Dudelange 5-1 in Thursday’s other Group F contest.
Betis beat Milan 2-1 last month at the San Siro, but have gone winless in their last four La Liga matches, while the Rossoneri arrived at Seville’s Benito Villamarin stadium on the back of three consecutive Serie A victories.
At the same time, the visitors were without several starters, including injured striker Gonzalo Higuain, and Betis made by far the better start, taking the lead in the 12th minute with a goal by Giovani Lo Celso.
The home side went on to dominate for the rest of the first half and Milan’s forays into the offensive zone were few and ineffectual.
The Rossoneri showed more ambition in the second half, though Betis goalkeeper Pau Lopez had no problem handling Suso’s shot 10 minutes after the re-start.
But it was a different story in the 62nd minute, as Suso prevailed in the duel with Lopez to level the score at 1-1.
Betis responded by trying to limit possession for Milan, who lost Mattia Musacchio and Hakan Çalhanoglu to injuries in the space of seven minutes.
The hosts mounted a late surge in pursuit of a winning goal that didn’t materialize.