Real Betis 1-2 Real Madrid: La Liga – as it happened

A late free-kick from Dani Ceballos against his old club took the win for Santiago Solari’s team after Luka Modric had opened the scoring

Full-time: Real Betis 1-2 Real Madrid

Madrid have managed to avert the embarrassment of their worst start in the 21st century but they had to dig it out. Ceballos, against his old club, was the hero, on a night when there was a glimpse of a new Real Madrid. Vinicius and Brahim Diaz, making his Liga debut, are two names that stood out. Betis can count themselves unlucky; better finishing and braver defending of that corner might even have taken all three points.

90 min+4: Vinicius tries to buy time by holding the ball in the corner, and that’s enough. Real Madrid have their victory.


90 min+2: A Betis corner and a handball appeal. Nothing from the ref, nothing from VAR.


90 min+1: A replay suggests that Ryad Boudebouz, the Betis sub, was the guilty party in that collapsing wall. Pau Lopez did not expect him to turn away from the ball. Four minutes added on, as it happens.

90 min: Bitter blow for Betis, who had been the better team, but that was a soft goal to concede. Real Madrid have ridden their luck, big time.

Goal! Real Betis 1-2 Real Madrid (Ceballos, 88)

Ceballos takes it, when Ramos looked favourite. Pau Lopez stepped one way and the ball went the other, and Ceballos scored against his old club. The Betis wall was soft, too.

87 min: The Real Madrid front three is now Vinicius, Brahim and Cristo. How times change. Casemiro wins a free-kick, after being fouled by Carvalho, who receives a red card. Loren comes on for Sanabria, who has worked hard all night.

84 min: Tello had a chance to shoot, after another great run from Barragan; but this shot somehow ended up going behind him.

82 min: Real have gone to 4-4-2, with Nacho stepping out to left-back. That 3-5-2 has failed them in this second half.

80 min: Diaz had to wait a while to get on as Betis continued to control midfield. Eventually, he comes on to make his debut, as Valverde comes off. That suggests Solari is going for the win here.

78 min: Here comes Brahim Diaz, so recently of Manchester City. That will mean no Isco. A cheeky bid for the former midfield kingpin from a Premier League or Serie A club is surely worth a go, and José Mourinho won’t fancy him, either, once Fellaini comes on.

76 min: Vinicius has been pushed to the left, but he will have to see the ball first if he is to make an impact. Betis ratcheting up the pressure.

74 min: Lo Celso and Carvalho are ruling the roost in midfield and after their decent first half, it is clear to see why Real Madrid are in such a mess. It has to be said that Modric, after his goal, has done very little.

72 min: Real Madrid make a sub. Requilon is coming off and on comes Dani Ceballos against his former club, whose fans don’t give the new arrival the warmest of welcomes.

71 mins: Tello gets an early touch as Madrid’s defence opens up once more. The giants are rocking here. Ramos has to clear a Barragan ball from the right flank.

69 min: Real Madrid can hardly say that wasn’t coming. They stepped off the gas. By the way, Cristian Tello came on for Betis, for Francis Guerrero, and just a few seconds before the goal.

Goal! Real Betis 1-1 Real Madrid (Canales, 67)

Canales, at last, finds a way through, as Lo Celso plays an excellent ball. VAR is called upon but Carvajal was playing him onside. There was a lengthy delay to it being awarded and the celebrations. Canales’ finish was typically delicate but just right this time.

Sergio Canales celebrates scoring the equaliser.
Sergio Canales celebrates scoring the equaliser. Photograph: Marcelo del Pozo/Reuters


65 min: Lo Celso tried to find a way through the middle, only for Nacho to come across. A hint of handball and the VAR is called into action. But nothing doing.

63 min: Real Madrid have not mounted an attack in some time. Some young and old legs in their team and they might be running out of energy. In the first half, they did press hard.

61 min: Real are sitting on this a little. Valverde is booked for a foul on Sanabria.

59 min: Carvalho, no longer linked to Arsenal every summer, stepping it up in midfield. Madrid are dropping off. And Guardado finds space to shoot, this time wide.

57 min: Betis still pushing on, but Real are sat back in numbers, while Betis are not committing enough into the box. The ball went across the six-yard line and was begging and no takers in green and white.

54 min: Benzema being absent does mean Real Madrid are not holding the ball up so well now. Betis on the march. Varane shows dexterity in hacking the ball away with his backheel.

52 min: Vinicius is now furthest forward for Real Madrid, and he makes a couple of darts across the Betis defence. He is also chasing down Betis defenders. This is a little different to what we see from Bale or that Ronaldo bloke. This is most modern.

50 min: Betis have a spell of possession; Madrid happy to sit back and soak up pressure. Betis don’t exactly commit much forward into the box but a corner is forced nonetheless.

48 min: Joaquin sets up Canales with a neat pass, but the shot is not enough to beat Navas. Canales has had the best chances but doesn’t seem capable of hitting the ball hard enough.

47 min: Vinicius forces a corner. It’s well dealt with by Pau Lopez in Betis’ goal.

46 min: On comes Cristo, and Benzema probably has his finger in ice somewhere. This looks a youthful team now with Vinicius and Cristo in attack.

Looks like Benzema will not be continuing. Cristo González is stretching his legs at half-time.

That’s half-time: Real Betis 0-1 Real Madrid

45+2 min: Real Madrid have looked a decent unit here, with Solari’s new system working well. Betis have been held at arm’s length, though Benzema’s finger might end up the story of this game.

45 min+1: Ouch! Benzema is tackled by Bartra and goes down to the floor. He looks to have wrenched his finger into a place it does not belong. He is in agony. The physio puts it back in place, but that hurt. And he leaves the field in distinct discomfort.

Karim Benzema suffered a finger injury just before the break.
Karim Benzema suffered a finger injury just before the break. Photograph: Soccrates Images/Getty Images


45 min: Better from Betis; Lo Celso jabs a pass for Canales, and the midfielder turns and pings a shot at goal. Perhaps he was too hasty, as he had time and ended up missing the target.

44 min: Nacho steps in to hack clear as Guardado threatens down the left flank; this has been a decent performance from the back three.

43 min: Ramos booked now, for a hefty trip on Lo Celso.

41 min: Another Betis free-kick after Casemiro and Ramos sandwiched Sanabria. Canales’ shot is the closest Betis have come but is wide of the target.

39 min: Vinicius has an opportunity to charge on, but wasted his pass to Benzema. He looks annoyed with himself. Gareth Bale is not here and the Brazilian has a chance to shine.

37 min: Nine shots from Real Madrid, none from Betis, say the stats men, which doesn’t seem to count Lo Celso’s earlier attempt. It looked like a shot, but maybe was too weak to count. Would it even count for the xG lads?

35 mins: Modric was meanwhile booked for a foul on Joaquin. It was a full-blooded lunge.

34 min: Handbags as Casemiro throws in a nasty foul on Joaquin. No booking, though. The free-kick is over-deliberate. Real charge on, another fine touch from Vinicius. Valverde is through but then steps on the ball. It seems he wanted Benzema to have a shot. He probably got a call but it ended up a terrible waste.

32 min: Real stepping it up a bit here, now controlling matters. Valverde forced a corner off Marc Bartra as they pushed on. This time, Benzema can’t link up with Vincius.

30 min: Another brief flicker of Vinicius, as he links with Benzema, who did some typical hold-up play before crossing back from the byline. A rueful grimace from the teenager; he might have done better.

28 min: If Betis have a problem, it is that they are being crowded in midfield. They have nowhere to go. This is a different Madrid. Pressing has never really been their thing.


26 mins: Lo Celso finds space, at last. His shot is weak, but receives applause as Betis have not created much until now.

25 min: Modric, left-footed this time, finds similar space to where his goal came from and shoots just over.

24 min: Real Madrid not great here, it has to be said. Betis have been a little naive in defence and were for the goal, but have matched their opponent. Madrid, perhaps as a result of that unfamiliar formation, are not clicking.

22 min: Guardado is fouled. Joaquin and Canales argue over who will take, but it is Canales who takes and Nacho who clears.

19 min: Vinicius makes his first surge. A lovely run, a languid stride but the shot is saved with ease. He was actually offside, but as it came to nothing, the ref waved play on. That’s a change VAR brings. Takes some getting used to, all that.

Vinicius Jr is impressing at Real Madrid.
Vinicius Jr is impressing at Real Madrid. Photograph: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images


17 min: Modric flies into a tackle which looked a little wild. Lo Celso, though, got up to continue. And the ref saw no problem in it in any case. Second look suggests it was lenient to think that.

15 min: This unfamiliar Real Madrid team took a while to get going but then scored, almost with their first attack of note. The old faithfuls in Modric and Benzema were involved.

13 min: There was a VAR delay for that one. Was Benzema offside? No, it seems not. The goal will stand.

Goal! Real Betis 0-1 Real Madrid (Modric, 13)

Carvajal surged on, and the ball came loose to Modric, who lashed it with his right foot and into the goal.

Luka Modric wheels away after scoring.
Luka Modric wheels away after scoring. Photograph: Cristina Quicler/AFP/Getty Images


12 min: Brahim Diaz is on the bench for Real; one to watch for the City fans.

11 min: A Real Madrid break, Benzema goes down in the area, and a penalty claim is lodged. Nothing doing.

9 min: Another offside. Tony Adams and co would be proud of this level of control of the offside trap so far.


7 min: Canales, who has been lively against his old club, is caught offside. Madrid’s unfamiliar back three is doing well with the offside trap so far.

4 min: Vinicius is fouled on the edge of the box. Guardado is booked, even though three players at a time surged in. The free-kick was a waste as Modric boomed it into the wall.

2 min: Navas, standing in for Thibaut Courtois, comes out to smother and attack. There was an offside flag in any case.

1 min: Betis beat Barcelona earlier this season. Let’s see what they can do. Sergio Canales was once the Junior Vinicius of his day.

And away we go...Betis take the kick-off in front of a home crowd in full terpsichorean mood.

The headline news for Real Madrid is the continuing absence of Isco, who is being given a similar cold shoulder by Solari to that Unai Emery offers Mesut Özil these days at Arsenal.

Here’s the teams in analogue fashion. Junior Firpo, the flying full-back, will be a big miss for Betis. He’s been linked with Big Real in recent weeks.

Real Betis: Pau López, Barragán, Mandi, Bartra, Francis, William Carvalho, Guardado, Canales, Lo Celso, Joaquín, Sanabria

Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Ramos, Reguilón, Modric, Casemiro, Valverde, Vinicius, Benzema.


The last time these teams met, there were a mere eight goals.

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has scored his 400th Liga goal, in just 435 matches as Barcelona beat Eibar 3-0 and stayed top of the league. Vinicius has some act to live up to.


Madrid are lining up with three central defenders against Betis with Nacho playing alongside Varane and Ramos. Vinicius has recovered from flu, and is something of a surprise starter.

Here are the teams:


Should Real Madrid lose this one to their similarly royalist opponents from Andalusia - or even draw - they will be at their lowest points total at this point of the season in the 21st Century so far Where did it all go wrong, Señor Triple Champions League and Club World champions? It seems, as it often did during that imperial period, that the whole thing was built on sand. Banjaxing Spain’s World Cup by appointing Julen Lopetegui now looks one of the worst decisions in football history, but it was a panic born of Zinedine Zidane reading the runes and doing one before the whol edifice collapsed. It seems Santiago Solari, similarly an ex-player, and part of the coaching set-up, is no Zizou, or even an Ole Gunnar Solskjær. Things are so bad, they are even pining for José Mourinho’s brand of macho miserablism.

Can Betis beat them? Why not? They are just four points behind, though haven’t started the year too well themselves.