Joel Campbell showed what Arsenal are missing this season with his sweetly struck shot giving Real Betis a 3-2 win over Deportivo La Coruna in La Liga on Sunday.
The on-loan 20-year-old curled a 25-yard effort into the top corner to put Betis clear in fourth place and demonstrate the talent of a winger who is still raw around the edges.
Campbell moved from Saprissa in his native Costa Rica to Arsenal in 2011 but was first loaned out to French side FC Lorient before joining Betis last summer.
Although blessed with pace and plenty of natural ability his performances have been erratic but he made the most of his chance against Deportivo with Juan Carlos injured in left midfield.
Deportivo had responded with a brace from Ivan Sanchez-Rico ‘Riki’ after a Ruben Castro double had put the Andalusians ahead but Campbell picked up a pass from Benat Etxebarria and fired home the winner.
“Although they may be angry with me in Costa Rica it is normal that a player doesn’t settle if he is all the time in a plane”
Real Betis Pepe Mel
In a message to the Costa Rica football federation, Betis coach Pepe Mel claimed that Campbell’s development has been affected by international commitments.
“Although they may be angry with me in Costa Rica it is normal that a player doesn’t settle if he is all the time in a plane,” he said.
“When he is a full season with us without leaving he is more in the team as he is used to our system. I think that is good for everyone: for Costa Rica and Betis and if he does well then next year Arsenal will benefit as well.”
Second-from-bottom Deportivo have only two wins all season but they have played some entertaining football with a talented forward line inspired by the veteran Juan Carlos Valeron.
Riki should have put Deportivo ahead after 14 minutes but his shot from close range was parried by keeper Adrian San Miguel and then minutes later Valeron clipped the top of the crossbar with a strike from distance.
Deportivo had the majority of the ball but Betis’ improved results have been largely down to a more defensive approach and the use of the wings to counter-attack especially away from home.
They took the lead after 38 minutes with full-back Ignacio Perez ‘Nacho’ crossing for Castro to head home and it was the same combination that doubled the advantage after the break as Castro this time side-footed the ball in.
Deportivo appeared dead and buried but an inspired Riki headed in a Laure Sanabria cross and latched onto a loose ball in the area to equalise but it was not enough with Campbell giving Betis the three points.
A late goal from substitute Roger Marti gave European chasing Levante a 1-1 draw away to Celta Vigo who went ahead through Enrique De Lucas and bottom side Espanyol under new coach Javier Aguirre drew 0-0 away to Granada.
Victor Casadesus grabbed a late equaliser for 10-man Mallorca who drew 1-1 with Zaragoza.
Glenn Loovens conceded a penalty and was red-carded after 12 minutes for a foul on Emilio Nsue and while Helder Postiga missed the spot-kick he scored moments later.
Mallorca laied siege to the Zaragoza goal and eventually drew level through Victor four minutes from the end.