Real Madrid lost ground in the La Liga title race on Sunday, drawing 0-0 with Real Betis after Barcelona’s win earlier in the day.
The results on Sunday mean that Real Madrid are now nine points adrift of their El Clasico rivals after 24 games.
Real Betis were the much better side in the opening 10 minutes, with Ayoze Perez forcing Thibaut Courtois into a good save with a venomous volley from well outside the box.
However, on the first occasion in which Real Madrid ventured forward in the 11th minute, they managed to find the back of the net. The goal however, scored by Antonio Rudiger who saw a Karim Benzema free kick from the edge of the area deflect off his arm and into the top right corner of the net, was disallowed for handball.
The crowd at the Estadio Benito Villamarin would have to wait until the half hour mark for anything else notable to happen in what had been a rather stodgy game of football. That ‘notable’ thing that happened was a brilliant strike on goal from Federico Valverde from fully 35-yards out which just flew over the crossbar.
The first real chance of the game would eventually come at the start of the second half when Vinicius Junior drifted past a few players on the left flank before cutting the ball back into the path of Benzema. The French forward’s subsequent effort on goal however was well saved by Claudio Bravo in the Real Betis goal.
Business really picked up after the chance, with an even better opportunity falling to Borja Iglesias. The Spanish striker was denied what looked a certain goal by Courtois, who got a hand to his powerful shot from just six-yards out. A miraculous save from the best goalkeeper in the world.
Los Blancos would come close to opening the scoring next, with Valverde putting the ball on a plate for Rodrygo 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 almost open the scoring next, side-footing wide of the post from just inside the box after being brilliantly found by Dani Carvajal.
GK – Thibaut Courtois – 7/10 – Made a stunning save to deny Iglesias what looked a certain goal.
RB – Lucas Vazquez – 3/10 – Targeted by Real Betis and most of their good play came down his flank.
CB – Eder Militao – 6/10 – Made a few decent tackles and came forward with the ball at times.
CB – Antonio Rudiger – 6/10 – A decent outing defensively. Had a goal disallowed for handball in the first half.
LB – Eduardo Camavinga – 4/10 – Booked early and didn’t get forward quite as much as Carlo Ancelotti perhaps wanted him to.
CM – Toni Kroos – 5/10 – Kept things ticking over.
CM – Aurelien Tchouameni – 5/10 – He was ok. Nothing to write home about.
CM – Federico Valverde – 6/10 – Had a few decent efforts from range which came close to breaking the deadlock.
RW – Rodrygo – 6/10 – Lively but lacked a bit of quality at crucial moments.
ST – Karim Benzema – 5/10 – Not really at his best. Linked up play quite well but didn’t take the one real chance that came his way.
LW – Vinicius Junior – 6/10 – Drifted past opposition players with ease at times.
SUB – Dani Carvajal – 7/10 – Impressed both offensively and defensively after being introduced.
SUB – Nacho Fernandez – N/A.
SUB – Dani Ceballos – 4/10 – Missed a great chance when he came on.
SUB – Alvaro Rodriguez – N/A.