Real Madrid lost ground in the La Liga title race on Sunday, following a 0-0 draw with Real Betis following Barcelona’s win earlier in the day.
Sunday’s results mean Real Madrid are now nine points behind their El Clasico rivals after 24 matches.
Real Betis were the better side in the opening 10 minutes, with Ayoze Perez forcing Thibaut Courtois into a fine save with a venomous volley from well outside the box.
However, on the first occasion in which Real Madrid went ahead in the 11th minute, they managed to find the back of the net. The goal was however disallowed for handball by Antonio Rudiger, who saw a Karim Benzema free kick from the edge of the area deflect off his hand and into the top right corner of the net.
The crowd at Estadio Benito Villamarin would have to wait until the half-hour mark, which is notable for anything else happening in a strange game of football. The ‘remarkable’ thing that happened was a brilliant strike on goal by Federico Valverde, perfectly from 35-yards out. Now Flew over the crossbar.
The first real chance of the game would eventually come at the start of the second half when Vinicius Júnior got past a few players on the left flank before cutting the ball back into Benzema’s path. The French forward’s subsequent effort on goal was well saved by Claudio Bravo in the Real Betis goal.
Opportunity after opportunity really picked up, with even better opportunities coming to Borja Iglesias. The Spanish striker was denied a certain goal by Courtois, who got a hand to his powerful shot from just six yards. Miraculous save from the best goalkeeper in the world.
Los Blancos would come close to opening the scoring next, with Valverde laying the ball on a plate for Rodrigo inside the penalty area, but the Brazilian could only volley the ball over the crossbar.
Former Real Betis hero Dani Ceballos came off the bench to open the scoring next, side-footing wide of the post from inside the box after being brilliantly found by Dani Carvajal.
GK – Thibaut Courtois – 7/10 – Made a stunning save to deny Iglesias who looked a sure target.
RB – Lucas Vazquez – 3/10 – Targeted by Real Betis and most of his good play came on his flank.
CB – Eder Militao – 6/10 – Made some good tackles and came forward with the ball a number of times.
CB – Antonio Rudiger – 6/10 – A decent outing defensively. A goal was not allowed for handball in the first half.
LB – Eduardo Camavinga – 4/10 – Booked early and didn’t go as far as Carlo Ancelotti probably wanted him to.
CM – Tony Kross – 5/10 – Keep tickling things.
CM – Aurelien Tchoumeny – 5/10 – That was fine. Nothing to write home about.
Chief Minister – Federico Valverde – 6/10 – Made some good efforts from the boundary that came close to breaking the deadlock.
RW – Rodrigo – 6/10 – The quality was a bit lacking in the lively but important moments.
ST – Karim Benzema – 5/10 – Not really at its best. Link up plays very well but he didn’t miss every chance he got.
LW – Vinicius Jr. – 6/10 – Beaten the opposition players with ease many times.
Sub – Dani Carvajal – 7/10 – IImpressed both offensively and defensively after being introduced.
Sub – Nacho Fernandez – N/A.
Sub – Dani Ceballos – 4/10 – When he came, he missed a big opportunity.
Sub – Álvaro Rodríguez – Not Applicable.