The city of Seville, mostly draped with sunshine for over 300 days a year is hotbed of football passion running high for two rivalry clubs, Real Betis Balompié and Sevilla Football Club.
Over the years these two clubs have produced a hallmark of a colourful, flamboyant and ferocious city derby which is arguably one of the biggest in the history of Spanish football dating as far back as February 14th 1909 in their very derby according to statistics.
Football is set to return to Spain after a long pause of the sporting calendar following the COVID-19 pandemic with a huge game in the race for European league qualification places for both Sevilla and Real Betis.
Speaking to Real Betis Balompié sports writer David Whitworth, they are excited football is back but very cautious and hope everyone is safe.
“Just relief to see the ball again in play and what a match to return with the [Sevillano] derby.
“The players are ready to go. Naturally they wont be match sharp for a couple of matches which is normal as it is kind of pre season.
“We all want the best match possible in the safest conditions”.
Both teams go into the derby with much at stake.
After a winless streak of eight matches, Real Betis shocked the La Liga, defeating league leaders at the time Real Madrid 2-1 with goals from Sidnei and Tello before the coronavirus pandemic break.
Betis have not really been in good form since 2004/2005 when they defeated Osasuna to clinch the Copa del Rey title.
They qualified to the Champions League in the 2005/2006 season to play Liverpool and defeated Chelsea at home in the 2nd leg at the group stages but to a dead end.
Betis currently sit 12th position with 33 points on the league table, nine points off their Europa League target position.
However, Sevilla currently are third on the league table with 47 points and chasing a Champions League place.
Last time out they draw 2-2 against Atlético Madrid, thanks to goals from striker Luuk de Jong and winger Lucas Ocampos.
Nevertheless, it’s all set up for a fascinating Thursday night of pure Spanish football to celebrate the next instalment of the city’s spectacular footballing centrepiece but to what effect in the absence of the ever-colourful and cheerful supporters.
Source: Dennis Mensah