Sevilla beat Betis in La Liga's return from coronavirus hiatus

Sevilla's Argentine winger Lucas Ocampos produced a classy display to lead his side to a 2-0 home win over city rivals Real Betis on Thursday in the first La Liga game since the season was halted three months ago by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ocampos struck the post in the first half before giving Sevilla a deserved lead from the penalty spot in the 56th minute and he produced an outrageous backheel assist for midfielder Fernando to head home six minutes later.

The win consolidated Sevilla's push for a Champions League place, tightening their hold on third place in the standings with 50 points after 28 games. Betis were left in 12th on 33.

Sevilla dominated the derby in an empty and eerily quiet Sanchez Pizjuan which would usually be teeming with colour and noise for the occasion, but the red seats were left bare as fans were barred from attending for safety reasons.

Lucas Ocampos celebrates after scoring a goal for Sevilla against Real Betis.
Lucas Ocampos celebrates after scoring a goal for Sevilla against Real Betis.
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Television broadcasts sought to re-create the experience of a normal match with fans by using simulated crowd noise and images, while Ocampos still saluted the stand behind the goal after breaking the deadlock from the penalty spot.

"I had never played a derby here before and even though the fans are not here I still wanted to honour them and make it feel like they were and show that we are working hard for them," the Argentine said.

Sevilla had been outplaying their neighbours before Betis defender Marc Bartra was penalised for fouling Luuk de Jong in a challenge which led to the spot-kick.

"The penalty was incredible, I was in a position to out-jump De Jong and he jumped into my arms, the Sevilla players weren't even expecting a penalty," Bartra said.

"If football is a contact sport you cannot give a penalty for that."