A few weeks ago, Manuel Pellegrini’s men were 2-0 down against fifth place Real Sociedad with 20 minutes left on the clock before they turned to legendary figure Joaquín for inspiration.
The club need not have worried.
Just five minutes before full-time the 39-year-old looped in a cross for attacking midfielder Sergio Canales to head home before latching onto a loose ball in the box and guiding it into the net with his weaker left-foot, albeit with a deflection, to salvage an incredible 93rd minute equaliser.
In their following two matches, Real Betis knocked out Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey (3-1) and ran out as 1-0 winners against Osasuna last weekend.
Striker Borja Iglesias scored three goals in these two matches.
On Thursday night, Joaquín could not stop his Betis side crash out of the Copa del Rey on penalties against Athletic Club.
But they cannot let this defeat demotivate them as, especially during this global pandemic, the fixtures are coming thick and fast.
Real Betis face Barcelona at home on Sunday before a crunch match against Villarreal.
Indeed, Los Verdiblancos are only, at the time of writing, five points behind Unai Emery’s men and it seems that Pellegrini’s careful stewardship is finally getting the best out of their squad.
And if Betis are to have a successful end to this covid-stricken campaign, and challenge for the European places, then captain Joaquín Sánchez will surely have a vital role to play.
Joaquín and Real Betis: steeped in history
Before his big-money move to Valencia in 2006, Joaquín was a regular in a Real Betis side which would finish in the top 10 in each of the campaigns between 2000/01 and 2003/04.
Yet it would be the 2004/05 season which was to be the club’s most successful as they would win the Copa del Rey and finish in that fourth and final Champions League spot, with Joaquín an ever-present in LaLiga during this campaign.
He would score against Athletic in a 4-4 draw at San Mamés as well as grabbing a brace in his side’s 3-3 draw with Barcelona at Camp Nou in two of the season’s classic matches.
This golden period was also the one in which the Cádiz born winger would win the majority of his 51 caps for the Spanish national side.
After representing Betis in the Champions League in 2005/06, he signed for Valencia.
Joaquín would spend five seasons with Los Che and two campaigns with Manuel Pellegrini’s Málaga before trying his luck in Italy with Fiorentina.
But where he had been happiest was at Real Betis and 10 years after he left, he came home. Continue reading
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