Real Madrid miss chance to go top after Betis stalemate

Real Madrid missed the chance to move clear of Barcelona at the top of LaLiga as Real Betis battled to a goalless draw at the Bernabeu.

The reigning champions’ surprise defeat at Levante earlier on Saturday had given Los Blancos an opportunity to leapfrog their rivals.

However, after seeing Eden Hazard’s early effort ruled out for offside, it proved to be a frustrating evening for Zinedine Zidane and his squad as Betis claimed a hard-earned point.

Madrid are level on 22 points with Barca, but remain second, a point in front of Sevilla and Atletico Madrid, who drew 1-1.

Los Blacos, who had Croatia playmaker Luka Modric back in the starting XI following injury, thought they had taken an early lead when Hazard latched onto Karim Benzema’s pass.

The goal, though, was ruled out by VAR for offside against the Belgian.

The home side continued on the front foot, with captain Sergio Ramos heading straight at the Betis keeper before Toni Kroos saw his shot on the turn fly just over.

The visitors remained a threat on the counter, as Nabil Fekir’s first-time effort went just wide after the ball was sent in from the left flank.

Betis, who came into the game with the worst defensive record in LaLiga, scrambled clear as Benzema looked set to stab the ball in from Dani Carvajal’s cross.

Real almost broke the deadlock at the end of the first half.

Modric picked out Benzema, who chested the ball down for Ramos to fire goalwards at point-blank range, but Joel Robles made a smart reaction save.

Real Betis goalkeeper Joel Robles
Betis goalkeeper Joel Robles was in good form (Manu Fernandez/AP)

The home side continued to press after the restart, as Casemiro’s free-kick was drilled just off target.

Just after the hour, defender Ferland Mendy was played through by Kroos, only to send his shot wide.

Zidane sent on teenage Brazilian forward Vinicius Junior for the final 25 minutes.

Real Madrid had to settle for a point against Betis (
Real Madrid had to settle for a point against Betis (Manu Fernandez/AP)

The home fans were calling for a penalty when Benzema’s low cross looked to have hit Zouhair Feddal on the hand as he made a sliding challenge, but the appeals were turned down following a VAR review.

Luka Jovic, who scored his first Madrid goal since a big-money summer transfer in the midweek 5-0 win over Leganes, was thrown into the action for the closing stages.

A floated cross from the left saw the ball drop to Vinicius at the back post, but the 19-year-old was denied by a point-blank stop from Robles.

Carvajal then saw his angled drive blocked as Ramos tried to flick it past the goalkeeper, with Feddal knocking the ball behind as Betis held out for a point.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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