Well, if the powers-that-be thought a change of coach was the magic way to galvanise this Betis team, they would have been sadly - and predictably - disappointed by tonight's performance. Opting for exactly the same formation as Pepe Mel was employing until his dismissal, Juan Carlos Garrido saw his side exhibit all of the same faults as under the previous boss: ponderous build-up play, negligible goal threat, and mistakes in all areas of the pitch. From the home team's point of view, it was a pretty poor display. Although Betis dominated both in terms of possession and territorially, they created only a handful of clear-cut chances - all of which they made a mess of - and a more composed team than their Croatian opponents would have made them pay by taking one of the several opportunities presented to them by Betis defensive errors.
Isolated bright spots included whole-hearted performances from Lolo Reyes in the centre of midfield and, encouragingly, Markus Steinhöfer at right-back, plus another half-hour of solid, albeit anonymous, playing time for Rubén Castro. But with chants for Pepe Mel before, during and after the game, and periodic calls for sporting director Vlada Stosic to resign, it seems the main effect of the ex-coach's sacking has been to disillusion the club's supporters. The disconnect between the fans and the team seems as complete now as at any time since the disastrous 2009/10 season in Segunda, and with the players' confidence already visibly shot to pieces, this isn't a good state of affairs. We need a win, and quickly - but performances like tonight's aren't likely to get that particular ball rolling any time soon.
Betis: Sara; Steinhöfer, Amaya, Jordi, Nacho; Xavi Torres (Rubén Castro, m. 56), Lolo Reyes; Juanfran, Salva Sevilla (Verdú, m. 66), Juan Carlos; Chuli (Nono,m. 66).
UPDATE: The news doesn't get any better. Xavi Torres, arguably Betis most consistent central midfielder this campaign, ruptured his achilles tendon during the game and is likely to be out for the whole of the rest of the season.