On-fire La Liga goalscorer left bemused after Celtic fringe players best Betis

By Euan Davidson

December 10, 2021

Juanmi wasn’t even meant to play for Betis against Celtic last night. But with the Andalusians chasing a win, the La Liga’s third-top scorer was thrown on by Manuel Pellegrini.

Celtic ended the Europa League group stages with the kind of game befitting the campaign as a whole. Excitement, goals by barrel full and of course, the odd defensive lapse. It had everything, really. It’s no wonder Spanish outlet Diario de Sevilla called it a “Surrealism overdose”.

Juanmi, though, is not best pleased. Even though Real Betis are through, he’s been left annoyed by some of Betis’ sloppy moments, and insisted this was a game his side were determined to win.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

That they didn’t seems to rankle a great deal with the Spanish attacker, who scored twice against Celtic at the Benito Villamarin.

Juanmi said [Marca]:

“It was a game of errors, they penalised us a lot, and then we did not have success in the face of goal. We have made many [chances], we have had clear opportunities to win the game, but this is football. Successes and errors is what penalises you.

“Although we came with our homework done, the team came to win, we have come out with that mentality from the beginning, but hey. It is not the result we wanted, we have to keep working. This week we have an important game at home and [then we] think about the next round.”

Celtic 3-2 Real Betis | LIVE Reaction

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Celtic 3-2 Real Betis | LIVE Reaction
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Betis will have been utterly shocked by fringe Celtic players last night

Does Manuel Pellegrini strike you as a type to be happy with what he saw last night?

They may be through to the next round, sure. However, it won’t be a particularly happy trip home for the Real Betis squad. Last night, they had international quality on the pitch, but couldn’t beat a team that included debutants and fringe players.

In most circumstances, last night would’ve been a classic. But going out of the Europa League, as well as the injuries to Kyogo and others, mean it’s tinged with a strange aftertaste.

Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

If anything, though, we’ve seemingly left Spain’s third-best team [Sky Sports] rattled. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. This is a Celtic side who ought to embrace the Europa Conference League with belief. Not only that, the absolute motivation to win the competition’s first ever edition.

Nothing personal to Juanmi. But given the damage he did against Celtic in Seville, there’s a certain satisfaction in having upset him. Especially with what was essentially a second-string side.

Call it petty, in the grand scheme of things, if you like.

Read more: Toughness required, room for hope; 3 things we learned from Celtic in the 21-22 Europa League