So, are Betis officially safe from relegation or not? "Or not" is the correct answer, although as ABC de Sevilla has put it, "Only a tragedy would mean Betis haven't stayed up". Admit it - that's got you worried, though, hasn't it?
Here are the details. Firstly, you need to understand that if two teams are level on points, the aggregate scores of the two games between them are used as the tiebreak; if three clubs are together, you have to imagine a mini-league involving them all. This means that for Betis to go down, a prerequisite is that they lose their three remaining games (against Sevilla, Sporting Gijón and Barcelona) while Sporting win all theirs (versus Villareal, Betis and Málaga, including beating Betis by more than two goals) and Villareal lose to Sporting but beat Valencia and Atlético. Granada and Rayo must also lift themselves above Betis, unless Rayo finish in a three-way tie with Betis and Sporting, or a four-way tie with Betis, Sporting and Zaragoza, either of which scenarios would send Betis down (assuming all the other conditions are met). Impossible? No. Unlikely? Hell yes.
On to some thoughts from yesterday...
l Pepe Mel was quick to acknowledge after the game that unless his players buck their ideas up, the first part of the nightmare prospect listed above - Betis losing three games in the next fortnight - could yet happen. "If we play on Wednesday like we did in the first hour today, Sevilla will leave us with red faces," he said. "We started terribly and it wasn't until Atlético scored that we started to wake up. Then we settled down and we realised we had a chance. With the arrivals of Pozuelo and Pereira we finally got among them and although the ending was a pain, overall we can be pretty happy." And the five minutes "injury" time? "Time-keeping is up to the referee. It's not worth worrying about. " That's not what he would have said immediately after the goal was scored, I can assure you.
l I saw Pozuelo give a frighteningly self-assured interview on local TV last night, and he was just as confident on the pitch, offering Betis way more pace, movement and guile than Roque Santa Cruz had been providing. "The boss just told me to go out and play how I know," he said afterwards. "You always have to be prepared, for the good things and the bad, and I'm very proud to wear this badge." The 20-year-old, who comes from the Seville barrio of Triana, scored the first goal and had a hand in the second - all on his first game for more than a month after being banished to Betis B for getting above himself after the Espanyol game. If you don't remember that story, it's here.
l The other player to come out with a nice quote after the match was central defender Antonio Amaya: "I'd pay to play in the derbi," he said. "But ultimately it's up to the boss." Amaya is likely to be replaced by available-again Chechu Dorado, who might not be a better pound-for-pound player than the former, but simply seems to fit better with the automatic first choice, Paulao (perhaps because Dorado is left-sided). Amaya did some good things and some bad, but overall the defence looked less secure than when the Paulao-Dorado partnership is anchoring things.
l What can we say about poor Javier Matilla? Older English readers will remember that Chelsea and AC Milan midfielder Ray Wilkins was known as The Crab because he only ever went sideways, and it would be hard to think of a more apt nickname for the Betis No.8. I can only assume that he's suffering from a crippling lack of confidence because he really doesn't seem to want to take any risks at all on the pitch. Apparently he's become such a figure of fun that satirical local sports radio show, El Pelotazo, has even composed a sevillana (a kind of a flamenco folk song) about him (which I'm afraid I haven't heard). But Pepe Mel said: "It's difficult to go out there when you're not getting regular games. I think he's a good footballer whose not helped by the fact his coach hasn't been picking him." A Catch 22 situation if every there was one. (If anything, Salva Sevilla was even worse, by the way.)
l Let's leave the final words on last night's game to a woman walking behind me on the way home, shortly after the referee and his linesman had been escorted off the pitch by riot police. "¿Cinco minutos?" she muttered in disgust. "¡Maricón!" While I deplore homophobia as much as anyone, I can certainly appreciate her frustration.
The derbi build-up starts tomorrow.