If you watch the "How it happened" highlights below, you'll see Pepe Mel turning round immediately after the second goal to celebrate with Roberto Rios, his No. 2. Can we take that as a sign that corner routines were something that the coaching staff particularly worked on at the specially arranged training camp last week? Who knows, but it's certainly true that Mel and Rios had every reason to feel pleased with themselves after last night's victory. Betis recovered the kind zip and intensity that had been missing from their game recently, the switch back to 4-4-2 worked a treat and two goals were scored from set pieces. It was pretty much a dream game from a coach's point of view.
Not that Pepe Mel was going overboard afterwards - unsurprisingly. "The first half was really a complete performance," he admitted, before adding, "but it also demonstrated that for a team playing a lot of different competitions is going to feel the pinch. The same thing happened to us in January when we played Rayo and we were exhausted from the cup games [and lost 3-0]. You want to compete, but your legs won't let you. We wanted to go for the jugular in the first 25 minutes and when we play with that kind of speed, we're a decent team." It's true that Málaga weren't themselves, and perhaps that's a warning for next season. As I've mentioned here before, qualifying for Europe brings with it almost as many problems as thrills.
Some more observations from the game...
l Pepe Mel also admitted that he was happy not to have to call on Rubén Castro. "He wanted to get on and he's important for us," said the Betis coach, "but it wasn't necessary to risk him because we need him for the final straight [of the season]. I want all our players fit and healthy because that's when we'll be at our best. Look what a difference having Juan Carlos back has made. Pabón is going to help us too, and now Rubén's there... We want to get 40-something points [to make sure of avoiding relegation] but when we've done that, we're not planning to stop there."
l You have to feel a bit sorry for Jorge Molina. Notably short of confidence in front of goal right now - which is presumably why he celebrated the opener with such wild-eyed fervour - he probably thought a fortunate penalty was just what he needed to leave his troubles well behind him. He was right, too, because his almost perfect spot kick clearly bounced over the line after hitting the crossbar and deserved a goal. But when your luck's not in... Béticos still gave him an affectionate ovation when he was subbed near the end; after all, it's not as if he's not trying.
l Left winger Juan Carlos, making his first start for several weeks, was the club's official MVP - and it's easy to see why. He combines frightening pace with just the right amount of trickery, and yet is still usually able to look up and spot his teammates in the box. Still just 22, he's with us on a year-long loan from Sporting Braga in Portugal (at least, officially - it's complicated), but Betis have already made clear they'd like to keep him for another season. Ditto Joel Campbell - and in fact Pepe Mel revealed that he's planning to travel to London himself quite soon to chat with Arsenal in person about the Costa Rican.
l I remember that when Mario first signed for Betis in the summer of 2011, there was much talk about the fact that although he's not particularly big for a centre-back, he has a prodigious leap. I think we can say he's finally proved it after his electric header for the second goal. "I was due one of those," he said afterwards. "I haven't scored for six or seven years and I didn't even know how to celebrate. But it was a great team performance - I think we surprised even ourselves with some of the football we turned out."
Next on the agenda are Real Sociedad, who looked very tidy in winning the Basque Country derby at Athletic Bilbao on Friday. But if Betis show anything like the form they did last night, they obviously have a chance of taking the three points. Suddenly six days seems like a very long time to wait for another game.