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Thursday, 17 June 2010 13:50

Nelson’s Betis prepare for promotion push

Bribing allegations surround final day

The Spanish Segunda Division enters its final round of matches this weekend, with the third and final promotion place to La Liga still to be decided. One team fighting for 3rd heading into Sunday’s matches is Real Betis, home to Portugal internationals Nelson and Ricardo.

With Real Sociedad and Levante already sure of making their returns to the top flight for next season, Betis are set to fight it out with Heracules for the last promotion place. The teams are level on points, but Heracules’ superior head-to-head record means they hold the advantage ahead of their match at Real Union, while Betis will be hoping for a slip-up as they host Levante.

An already tense situation has become even more delicate after president of Rayo Vallecano, Teresa Rivero, said that offering financial rewards for their opponents to lose matches had become “the order of the day“ during the run-in. Heracules beat Rayo 2-1 with an 89th-minute winner last weekend to move ahead of Betis in the standings, and Rivero’s words have caused a stir in Spain.

“It’s an ugly thing,” said former Benfica right-back Nelson. “A professional must have character and I think this is a very serious thing. The motivation to win is something completely different, it is almost impossible to control.

“This weekend, Levante has nothing to lose as they are already assured of promotion, but I still expect a very difficult match. If we were in their shoes, we would be playing to win. We have to do our job and concentrate on our game, which will be very difficult, and see how it all works out.”

Nelson has made 21 league appearances during Betis’ fight for an immediate return to the Spanish First Division, while ex-Sporting goalkeeper Ricardo has not featured for the Andalucians at all during the campaign.

By Sean Gillen

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