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Sevilla 2-0 Real Betis: Lucas Ocampos shines as Lopetegui’s men sink derby rivals on La-Liga return

Lucas Ocampos and Fernando did the derby damage as Sevilla boosted their Champions League hopes with a 2-0 home win over Real Betis when the LaLiga season resumed on Thursday.

The first top-flight match in Spain since March 10 saw the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stands deserted, albeit with piped-in crowd chanting and a bank of CGI supporters generating some kind of atmosphere.

It was nothing like a true Seville derby, of course, but this will have to do while Spain, and the rest of the world, attempts to contain and eventually move forward from the coronavirus pandemic.

The goals had been long in coming by the time they arrived, with dominant Sevilla taking the lead after 56 minutes when Ocampos beat Joel Robles from the penalty spot after Luuk de Jong was impeded by Marc Bartra, a VAR check confirming the spot-kick.

It made Ocampos the first Sevilla player to score in five successive LaLiga appearances since Alvaro Negredo netted in six straight games nine years ago.

Sevilla’s second goal came six minutes later, with a tremendous backheeled flick from Ocampos following a corner setting up Fernando to head home.

Ocampos had a fine game, hitting the angle of post and crossbar early on and showing no signs of any rustiness after a three-month break from competitive action.

Sevilla strengthened their grip on third place on a night when they commemorated the life of their long-serving former captain Marcelo Campanal, who died aged 89 in May.

A minute of reflection preceded the match as sombre music played, with those quiet moments dedicated to those whose lives have been lost to COVID-19 and on this occasion also to Campanal.

Sevilla’s players wore shirts bearing his name as they took another step towards a top-four finish, with more recorded cheering and celebratory singing at the final whistle giving a firm indication of what to expect over the final weeks of this atypical season.

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