Real Betis 3-5 Real Madrid: La Liga – as it happened

Goodnight! I am off to rest my little fingers which have been pounding away at the keyboard after a pretty relentless 90 minutes of football in Seville.

Thanks for joining me! Until we meet again.

Full-time: Real Betis 3-5 Real Madrid

Both teams played in spells here tonight in Seville. Real Madrid opened the scoring while they were on top, then Real Betis had their own spell and scored twice in four minutes. After the break there was no stopping Real Madrid who scored three unanswered goals. Real Betis pulled one back before Benzema killed the game late on. What entertainment for all involved!

GOAL! Real Madrid make the most of the space Betis have left at the back as Benzema and Vazquez enjoy some good interplay as the Spaniard lays the ball back into the striker’s path and he calmly notches the fifth from 12 yards.

GOAL! Real Betis 3-5 Real Madrid (Benzema, 90+2)

That finishes it.

90+1 min: Three minutes added on! Will we see an equaliser!

88 min: After almost scoring a stunning free-kick in the first-half, Joaquin has another go from a similar position - 30 yards out in the centre of the pitch - but on this occasion, he sends it well over.

Benzema replaces Ronaldo for the visitors.

GOAL! Betis are back in it after young left-back Junior powers down the left before putting the perfect cross along the six-yard box, it just misses Loren but Sergio Leon is lurking at the back post and taps home the third.

GOAL! Real Betis 3-4 Real Madrid (Sergio Leon, 85)

Game on!

82 min: Joaquin curls a free-kick into the box but it goes over everyone until Loren volleys the ball at the head of a defender and the rebound is fired well wide.

81 min: Casemiro is carded after catching Guardado from behind.

Sergio Leon is now on for the Mexican. Tello is also on as Betis look to get back into it.

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79 min: The ball is sent 50 yards over the top and Ronaldo races onto it but the assistant’s flag is wrongfully hoisted into the air, leaving the Portuguese to wag his finger in the air.

78 min: Isco swings in a free-kick from the left flank but it goes straight at Adan who gleefully holds onto the ball a yard off his line.

75 min: Javi Garcia is coming on for Jordi Amat. Not the most attacking change but there must be a plan.

73 min: Guardado has a cunning plan and shoots from his own half - it must be 60 yards out - as he spots Navas off his line. To be fair to the Mexican, the ball went just over the bar with the goalkeeper back peddling furiously.

Isco joins the party for Real Madrid as Bale departs.

71 min: The home team are enjoying some good possession in the final third but just can’t find the crucial opening to create a chance on goal.

69 min: Betis are doing their best to put some pressure on Real Madrid as the ball reaches Fabian who shoots off balance from 25 yards but as it’s curling towards the corner Navas dives full stretch and grabs hold of the effort.

Nick emails in about the West Ham supporter in the stands...

He says: “The guy in the West Ham cap knew this match was his only guarantee of an exciting game this season!! And he was correct!!”

GOAL! A great chip over the top from Casemiro lands at the feet of Ronaldo who cuts in onto his right foot and rifles one down the middle which isn’t far from Adan’s grasp but it was struck with such venom he couldn’t react in time.

GOAL! Real Betis 2-4 Real Madrid (Ronaldo, 65)

He struck that well.

65 min: Betis need to find a way back into this. They look to have slowed a little since Madrid took the lead. Hopefully they have not exerted all of their energy.

The goal they’ve all been waiting for...

61 min: The ball is sent into the channel for Loren to chase. The forward almost gets there before Navas but the goalkeeper is quick enough and clears it but is caught by the Betis man for his troubles. Loren is booked for being a little late.

GOAL! Carvajal does wonderfully well down the right, skipping beyond one challenge before squaring the ball for Asensio who still had some work to do but he opened his body up and side-footed his shot beyond the diving Adan from eight yards.

GOAL! Real Betis 2-3 Real Madrid (Asensio, 59)

A cunning finish.

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57 min: Once again Bale gets beyond the Real Betis defence and tries to go round the goalkeeper, he shoots but Adan does well to recover and tip the ball wide. Inexplicably, the referee awards the goal-kick, much to the Welshman’s chagrin and he is booked for his protestations.

55 min: Ramos goes into the book for clumsily fouling Loren after getting too tight. Maybe it was a touch harsh.

Bale then breaks down the other end and is played through, his shot from a tight angle is well saved by the right-hand of Adan who spread himself well.

53 min: Real Madrid are offering far more intent in this period. Even the best teams need to put in some serious effort every now and again.

GOAL! The captain does it again for Real Madrid as Vazquez swings a corner into the box which Ramos attacks with gumption and viciously heads the ball in off the bar to level the scores.

GOAL! Real Betis 2-2 Real Madrid (Ramos, 50)

A bullet header from Ramos.

49 min: Junior is the next man to be cautioned after he lashes out at Casemiro after losing possession.

48 min: Great build-up from Betis as they play it out from the back with Fabian running the whole length of the pitch before pulling it back for Guardado who swings his right foot at the ball but sends it well over from 20 yards.

47 min: Kovacic is booked for high studs on Loren. The midfielder complains but it was worthy of a yellow.

Kick-off

Peep! Peep! Here we go again!

The players are back on the pitch. Can Betis improve on their lead? Can Real Madrid get back into the match?

There is a bloke in the stands in a West Ham cap. He must be lost.

Nacho’s own goal was not exactly Pollock-esque but it did look quite funny in the end.

Zidane must need to implement a Plan B here, as Real Madrid are struggling. Ronaldo and Bale are not even close to getting into the game. How do you think he will change things?

Not a bad top five of creators in La Liga this century.

The professional view...

Half-time: Real Betis 2-1 Real Madrid

Many would have feared Real Madrid running away with the win. Instead, Betis have been the far better side and really deserve to be ahead. They have dominated possession and created two great chances which were reward with goals.

45+1 min: Just the one minute added on. The time here was sponsored by no one.

44 min: First booking for Betis of the day goes to Liverpool legend Barragan after he tripped Asensio as he was getting away from him.

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42 min: Betis have been the better side since going behind. Real not really looking confident on the ball and scared when they are being attacked. To prove how ruffled they are, Vazquez runs over and pushes Bartra over for no reason.

Kiss your bicep...

40 min: How do Real Madrid get back into this? Modric might be needed to get on the ball and add an extra man to the centre of the park. Maybe he could come on for Vazquez and move Asensio up to be part of a front three.

GOAL! Betis break on Real Madrid and the ball is eventually played through to left-back Junior who made the run from the back and put his shot under Navas which then bounces off Nacho and into the net after he got behind his goalkeeper in the hope of stopping the goal.

GOAL! Real Betis 2-1 Real Madrid (Nacho OG, 37)

Nacho sends the ball into his own goal.

36 min: An Asensio corner from the left swings its way onto Ronaldo’s head but his effort goes tamely straight at Adan. Moments later Ronaldo does get the ball into the net but it is rightly disallowed for offside.

GOAL! Real Madrid clear a corner but it ends up back with Joaquin who swings in a cross from the left which is perfect for Mandi who powers a header home from close range. Game on!

GOAL! Real Betis 1-1 Real Madrid (Mandi 33)

A great header from Mandi.

33 min: Ronaldo and Bale have started doing their fair share of defensive work as Real Madrid do their best to get back on top of this match.

31 min: Real Betis are on top here but one feels they really need to get a goal soon otherwise they might miss out on their best chance to get back into the match.

29 min: After telling the bench he should be given chance to carry on, the full-back is eventually replaced, much to his own frustration. Theo is on.

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28 min: Marcelo has hobbled back onto the pitch for some reason or other as Theo Hernandez readies himself to come on.

27 min: Marcelo is down holding his right hamstring. Looks like it might be the end of his game. He is up on his feet but surely he will be wandering off the pitch.

26 min: Joaquin lines up a free-kick from 30 yards out in a central position and absolutely smashes it towards the top corner of Navas’s goal but the ‘keeper just about gets to it diving to his right and tips it over.

24 min: Loren picks up a pass 30 yards from goal, spins on it and fires a shot which goes just wide with Navas looking on concerned as it passes the post.

22 min: The hosts are looking the better of the two teams as they look to get the equaliser. Junior is looking dangerous for them down the left and could get more joy. The pressure almost results in a goal but Mandi glances a header just wide from a whipped Joaquin corner.

20 min: Real Betis have a corner on the left which the take short before swinging into the box but it comes to nothing as Bale launches the ball down the pitch.

18 min: Loren runs across the Real Madrid defence to get on the end of a cross from the left but his near post flick goes well wide.

16 min: Real Madrid are trying to take the sting out of the game by keeping possession as Betis look to get back into the match. Their time in charge of the ball ends when Ramos loses concentration and passes it straight out of play.

14 min: Boudebouz holds up the ball on the edge of the area before laying it into Joaquin whose shot is deflected and loops wide.

13 min: Vazquez sends a corner into the box from the left which Ramos leaps highest to reach but his head barely makes contact and the ball heads off towards the other corner flag.

GOAL! Real Madrid work the ball into the box where Ronaldo picks it up and smashes a shot towards goal which Adan can only parry straight into the danger zone where Asensio is waiting to head the ball beyond a helpless goalkeeper.

GOAL! Real Betis 0-1 Real Madrid (Asensio, 11)

Asensio heads home!

10 min: Boudebouz shows off his skills in the centre of the park, resulting in Vazquez being nutmegged, much to the amusement of the home fans. More of the same please.

8 min: Marcelo absolutely thwacks a pass across the pitch to Ramos who takes the ball down on his chest with little fuss. A little added sign of the quality in the Real Madrid ranks.

6 min: It is as close to a 4-4-2 as Real Madrid will get as Ronaldo and Bale operate down the middle but there’s plenty of swapping over and roaming going on.

4 min: Ronaldo has his first involvement of the game as he eventually takes control of an Asensio cross but his cutback is then turned behind for a corner.

2 min: Betis look like they want to play at a high tempo today and go at Madrid, which is their usual style. Against Barcelona at home they really sat off and it did not end well.

Kick-off!

Peep! Peep! Here we go in Seville!

The Real Betis team are wearing t-shirts with messages support for Feddal who has been ruled out for six months with an Achilles problem.

Gareth Bale requiring gloves in Seville in February. Surely it’s sufficiently warm to do without, Gareth.

No Modric for Real Madrid today, so his compatriot Kovacic gets another chance to show what he can do in the centre of midfield. He has rarely proved himself worthy of being a Real regular but there is definitely a good player in there.

Not the best way for a fan to prepare for the game...

(Don’t worry, it’s fine).

But will he get any joy today?

Marc Bartra has not lost in his last 36 games in La Liga! Admittedly the majority of those were for Barcelona but it’s still a pretty impressive record.

Real Betis come into this off the back of two straight wins by a single goal. They were looking far more expansive earlier in the season. Which team will turn up today?

Manchester City fans will be annoyed that their former midfielder Javi Garcia only starts on the bench today. He used to play for Real Madrid, too, so will be desperate to get his chance for Betis later on.

Real Madrid are as long way off in the league this season. Sid Lowe explains why Barcelona have been so good under Ernesto Valverde.

Luis Suarez is crucial to Barcelona.
Luis Suarez is crucial to Barcelona. Photograph: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

A promising stat for Real Madrid and their followers. Maybe it’s time for Zidane to give the likes of him and Asensio more of a chance in the team.

Bale is back in the starting XI after missing out in midweek. Looks like it could be him and Ronaldo down the middle in a very attacking side. Will Betis be able to cope with them?

Earlier today in La Liga, Atletico Madrid defeated Athletic Bilbao 2-0 to leave them just seven points behind Barcelona in the league, leaving some to think they can still challenge for the title but surely that is a little optimistic.

Diego Costa celebrates scoring against Athletic Bilbao.
Diego Costa celebrates scoring against Athletic Bilbao. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Things are not going as well as they were previously for Zinedine Zidane and he is realising how tiring it is to be the manager of a professional football team.

“It’s extremely tiring, for sure, and all the more so at Real Madrid. Of course the time could come when a change is needed, but that’s the case for everyone, the players too,” Zidane said.

“This profession can wear you out but here more than in other places.”

There should be goals today and probably a Real Madrid win if the stats anything to go by.

Elsewhere in Europe today, Juventus won the battle of Turin...

Teams: Real Betis v Real Madrid

Real Betis: Adan, Barragan, Mandi, Jordi Amat, Bartra, Juniore, Fabian, Guardado, Boudebouz, Joaquin, Loren.

Subs: Pedro, Durmisi, Javi Garcia, Camarasa, Francis, Trello, Sergio Leon.

Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Nacho, Ramos, Marcelo, Lucas, Casemiro, Kovacic, Asensio, Bale, Ronaldo.

Subs: Casilla, Varane, Benzema, Modric, Theo, Isco, Ceballos.

Preamble

Real Madrid start the game a mere 20 points Barcelona so they will not be winning the league. However, a good win tonight after defeating PSG in the week will ease the pressure on Zidane as his team will be safely ensconced in the top four and not worrying too much about their Champions League qualification.

Barcelona’s visit to Betis resulted in a 5-0 win for the Catalans. Betis went against their attacking instincts and played very defensively in that game so should learn from their mistakes and have a real go at today’s visitors, who have their vulnerabilities. A 94th minute goal in the capital earlier in the season was enough for a Betis victory and doing the double over Real Madrid would make the club’s year.

A win for the club from Seville could see them jump to seventh in the league, a position that would most likely result in European competition, so they have more than enough reason to get a result.

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