Sevilla took all three points in a frantic and fiery derby against local rival Real Betis, with a goal from centre-back Mercado the difference between the two teams.
In a fierce and sometimes scrappy match, Jorge Sampaoli's men dominated possession throughout and got their just rewards when Samir Nasri's free-kick was diverted into the net via the backside of Mercado.
It was an ugly goal to decide an ultimately ugly game of football, with the quality of football on display made up for by a special atmosphere and the frantic pace of play, which was also typically bad tempered for the Gran Derbi.
Betis will feel aggrieved not to have secured a draw, however, when Alegria's goal seemed to be wrongly disallowed for offside just two minuted after Sevilla's opener. The referee adjudged that Betis forward Ruben Castro had been played offside, but TV replays suggest that was not the case before he squared it to Alegria.
In the end though, Sevilla will feel they were deserving of the points, having had long spells of pressure throughout, and will take bragging rights until the teams meet again in February.
As it happened:
Full time: Sevilla 1-0 Betis
90 (+3) mins | FULL TIME: Sevilla 1-0 Betis. That's it. All over as Sampaoli's men take the first Seville derby of the season. Franctic, fiery, sometimes scrappy, but an absorbing game.
90 (+1) | Castro's effort from the edge of the box is saved by Rico. Is that Betis' last chance?
90 mins | Three minutes of added time.
85 mins | May have spoken a bit too early about this game losing it's fiery edge in the second half. Three players are booked at once as a spot of handbags breaks out. Players from both sides start pushing and shoving after a Sevilla foul...
80 mins | Last ten minutes for Betis to find an equaliser or for Sevilla to put this game to bed...
77 mins | Yellow card for Sarabria for some high studs. This half has been decidedly less bad-tempered than the first, maybe that's thanks to tiredness setting in.
76 mins | Second change for Sevilla: Mudo Vázquez exits for Kranevitter.
74 mins | Replacement Ceballos has injected some pace into the game for Betis and his mazy run almost carves an opening. His scooped through ball to Alegria is just cut out by Pareja though.
70 mins | So close for Vazquez! He's found in some space on the edge of the Betis box and tries to curl it with his left foot inside the far post. It goes millimetres wide! That would have been delicious.
68 mins | Double change: Sarabia replaces Iborra for Sevilla and Musonda comes on for Durmisi as Poyet makes a second Betis substitution.
61 mins | Betis change: Brasanac comes off for Ceballos.
60 mins | TV replays show that Betis' disallowed goal should have stood as it was a Sevilla foot which passed the ball, not a Betis one. That's tough to take in a game where chances have been very hard to come by for Poyet's men.
57 mins | The men in green and white are trying to get a foothold in this game and responded quite well to falling behind. They're finally stringing a few passes together. Gus Poyet's side have struggled to put their foot on the ball at all so far in the opening hour, but this is a little better.
53 mins | Betis almost hit back immediately! They get the ball in the back of the net through Alegria but it's ruled offside. Much like the first half, the second period has started at a frantic pace!
50 mins | GOOOOOOAL SEVILLA! 1-0. This time it Mercado does find the net! Nasri's freekick is floated in and the Sevilla defender gets in front Gonzalez. He manages to divert the ball with his backside past Adán! Soft goal to give away, but the pressure has finally told.
47 mins | Sevilla pick up where they left off, controlling the early exchanges of this second half. That's two corners they've won already in the opening two mins, and Mercado's header from the second one almost creeps inside the post! Just not enough power on it and Adán scrambles it away.
46 mins | Peeeeep! And we're back underway.
Half Time: Sevilla 0-0 Betis
45 (+2) mins | HALF TIME: And that draws a close to a frantic, but albeit scrappy, first half of the Seville derby.
45 mins | Two mins of added time
42 mins | Iborra is played through on goal, but is flagged offside. His shot was saved by Adán anyway...
40 mins | Nasri's turn this time for a badly timed tackle. His studs stamp right on the foot of Gutierrez but no card given as it looks to have been accidental.
39 mins | Yellow card for Piccini for a foul on Iborra. Amazingly that's only the second yellow of the game. I suspect there will be more...
37 mins | The Sevilla coach is even more irate now! And he has reason to be. Iborra clearly wins the ball off Joaquin in the middle of the park but the ref blows up for a foul. Cue deafening whistles from the crowd.
34 mins | Sampaoli is furious with the referee! That's because, after some neat build up play, Sevilla carve out an opportunity through Samir Nasri. His forward ball feeds Iborra who turns and looks to play it back to the Man City loanee, but the ref doesn't step out of the way in time and diverts the ball to a Betis defender via his foot. Oh dear!
30 mins | After half an hour, the game has finally slowed down a tad. The player's on both sides must be exhausted already as this half has been pretty non-stop. The fans haven't stopped though, it really is a special atmosphere here at the Sánchez Pizjuán.
24 mins | It's all Sevilla so far this half. Lots of pressure but not a lot in the way of chances. They'll want to make this good spell tell and come away with a goal before half time. Nasri almost does it, again taking advantage of a Betis defensive error, and almost forces his way through to a sight at net. His shocked is blocked before it can trouble Adán, however.
21 mins | Betis are dispossessed in their own half by Esudero, who breaks with a mazy run to the byline and plants a cross on the head of Vietto. It's just a little too high for the big man though and he can only guide the ball over. That was a decent chance and Sampaoli knows it as the camera cuts to him with his head in his hands.
18 mins | Betis defender Gonzalez does his best Bruce Lee impression on Vietto with a flying high foot to the face! The Sevilla coaching staff and players unsurprisingly go berserk, and a scuffle ensues. Gonzalez though gets away with it as the refs rules that it was an accidental high foot, and decides not to book him.
15 mins | Now Sevilla get a (deserved) yellow card as Vazquez brings down Durmisi. To be fair the referee could have blown up for three or four fouls in the 20 seconds before that. This is absolutely frantic!
12 mins | Betis launch their first real attack of the game and come away with a free-kick in a dangerous position after yet another foul. The delivery is headed away for a corner...which Betis take short but eventually lose possession.
8 mins | It's a feisty one, this, as you might expect. First yellow card of the games goes to Betis' Pezzella as he barges into Vazquez as Sevilla looked to break. The foul count is notching up quickly for both sides and it's only been ten minutes....
4 mins | First chance of the game falls to Sevilla! Betis give away a freekick on the left hand side of their box which is swung in and partially cleared to Vazquez on the edge of the area. It comes at him quickly but he should do better, skying over the bar.
1 mins | The game has started off at 100mph, as all good derbies should, with Sevilla enjoying pressure and possession in the opening two minutes with the vociferous home crowd roaring them on.
0 mins | Peeeeep! We're off. Sevilla are all in white and Betis are in their traditional white and green stripes.
Sevilla v Betis teams
Sevilla XI: Sergio Rico, Mariano, Mercado, Pareja , Escudero, Iborra, Nzonzi,Vitolo, Vazquez, Nasri, Vietto
Betis XI: Adán; Piccini, Bruno, Pezzella, Durmisi; Petros, Brasanac, Gutiérrez; Joaquín, Álex Alegría, Rubén Castro
Sevilla vs Betis: latest news
21:55 | The players have walked out on to the pitch welcomed by a characteristically wild atmosphere and a rainstorm of ticker tape! This is going to be electric...
21:45 | Just 15 minutes till Sevilla v Betis starts! We'll be bringing you the action live as Jorge Sampaoli and Gus Poyet's sides lock horns for the first Seville derby of the season.
21:15 | 45 mins to go and the teams for the Gran Derbi are out: Sevilla go with: Sergio Rico, Mariano, Mercado, Pareja , Escudero, Iborra, Nzonzi,Vitolo, Vazquez, Nasri, Vietto
Betis line up like so: Adán; Piccini, Bruno, Pezzella, Durmisi; Petros, Brasanac, Gutiérrez; Joaquín, Álex Alegría, Rubén Castro
20:30 | An hour and a half to go to kick-off! Stick with us for live coverage at 22:00 and follow all the live build-up with us right here. We'll be bringing you team news shortly...
19:09 | If you're interested in how the bookies view tonight's Seville derby, then one well-known betting house has Sevilla down as clear favourites at 1/3, with Betis at 5/1.
18:22 | It looks like Cesc Fabregas may get to play in the Seville derby next year if Sampaoli has anything to say on the matter.
17:41| Our in-house Oracle has been peering at his tea leaves... he reckons Sevilla will nab all three points tonight.
17:18 | The full Betis squad: Adán, Manu Herrera, Piccini, Rafa Navarro, Pezzella, Bruno, Donk, Durmisi, Petros, Felipe Gutiérrez, Brasanac, Fabián, Dani Ceballos, Nahuel, Musonda, Joaquín, Cejudo, Álex Alegría, Zozulia and Rubén Castro.
17:11 | If you're in Seville and fancy experiencing a major footballing derby experience, there are still a few tickets left, though they're not cheap. Starting at 90 euros...
15:43 | Sampaoli's squad for tonight's match is as follows: Sergio Rico, Sirigu, Mariano, Pareja, Diego González, Mercado, Escudero, Kranevitter, Iborra, Nzonzi, Nasri, Kiyotake, Franco Vázquez, Sarabia, Vitolo, Correa, Vietto and Carlos Fernández
15:08 | It's 30 degrees in Seville right now, but it'll be a perfect 20 degrees when we kick off at 10pm tonight. No chance of rain, but a few high clouds might be spotted lazily drifting over the Sánchez Pizjuán.
14:00 | League administrators LaLiga are pushing tonight's Seville derby and have created the #ElGranDerbi hashtag so supporters around the world can interact on social media
Sevilla - Betis: possible starting line-ups
These are the possible starting XI's for Jorge Sampaoli and Gustavo Poyet, respective coaches of Sevilla and Real Betis:
Sevilla: Sergio Rico, Mariano, Pareja, Kolodziejczak, Escudero, N´Zonzi, Sarabia, Nasri, Franco Vázquez, Vitolo and Vietto.
Betis: Adán, Piccini, Mandi, Pezzella, Durmisi, Petros, Brasanac, Joaquín, Musonda, Alex Alegría and Rubén Castro.
Sevilla vs Betis | preview: LaLiga Santander match-day 5
Tuesday sees the first Seville derby of the new season, always a passionate occasion and being a derby always with more than just three points at stake. Jorge Sampaoli will be looking to bounce back after dropping two points at Ipurua on Saturday and Betis' Gus Poyet anxious to get one over on the city rivals after an indifferent start to the 2016/17 campaign.
Seville come into the game in fifth place in the table with two draws and two wins under their belt so far in LaLiga. The team from the Nervión are undefeated and secured a morale boosting 0-0 draw in Turin last week as they faced Juventus in the opening game of the 2016/17 Champions League. Despite an impressive start to the season there are still question marks about the Chilean’s style of play as was in evidence last Saturday against the ten men of Eibar.
The coach will be without his centre backs with both Rami and Carriço picking up injuries in Saturday’s game. Nasri will also be a last minute decision following the player picking up a virus though he did participate in Monday’s training session.
Gus Poyet can call on a fully fit squad with ever-presents Rubén Castro (striker) Antonio Adán (goalkeeper) destined to start. Despite his brace against Granada on Friday it’s still unclear if Alex Alegría will start for the “Verdiblancos” or if Poyet will give Sanabria the nod.
City pride is on the line for Betis tonight having lost 5 of the past six encounters with city rivals Sevilla managing just one draw and failing to score in all six meetings.
Sevilla vs Betis: live coverage
*Update 20 de septiembre de 2016
*Update 20 de septiembre de 2016
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