After beating the arch-rivals Barcelona, it was expected that Real Madrid would get back on track and start winning matches consistently. But in the clash against Real Betis, one could witness a Real Madrid unit, which was not only below-par but also, it was hard to digest their pathetic display on the pitch. Real Betis beat the Los Blancos and one can’t deny that Betis were the worthy winners.

Quique Setien said he wasn’t worried after losing last weekend’s Clasico because there would be many twists and turns left in the title race – it did not take a long time for Real Madrid to prove Setien right,  leaving the Catalans two points clear at the top of La Liga, with 11 games to go.

Zinedine Zidane stuck to his rotation policy and opted to leave Fede Valverde, Dani Carvajal and Isco. He invested faith in the trio of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro. Three or four years ago, this combination was the best option until Cristiano Ronaldo left Santiago Bernabeu, but right now, this combo just can’t deliver the best like the past. The absence of players like Isco and Valverde hurt Madrid. Meanwhile, Carvajal’s absence led Zidane to organize a new right-flank where Lucas Vazquez was playing just in front of Eder Militao.

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In the left-flank, the combination of Marcelo, Vinicius Junior, and Karim Benzema was left clueless – they were simply suffocated. Just behind a Vinicius and Benzema, there was no Isco to marshal the frontline. The flanks relied on crosses, but they were not good enough for someone like Sergio Ramos, who sprinted down the pitch to cover. Even switching flanks between Vinicius and Vazquez did not work well.

Real Betis took control and as usual, during the transitions, Real struggled.

Betis took full advantage of a Real Midfield, which lacked sharpness and exhibited sloppiness while passing the ball. Battles are won at midfield and without the right combination, the Los Blancos cut a sorry figure at Benito Villamarin. In the final third the midfield of Real Madrid lacked the spark and creativity.

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Whereas, Nabil Fekir proved to be the driving force for Betis. He was the one, who pushed Betis forward with a lot of intent, creativity, and vision.

Marc Bartra should then have headed Betis in front when a set-piece came on his way but missed the target from point-blank range. Betis built pressure as Thibaut Courtois produced a strong stop from Fekir’s first-time strike, who appealed for a spot-kick as he appeared to be felled by Casemiro just inside the area, but Sidnei marched onto the loose ball and sent a thunderous drive into the top-right corner.

Ramos dribbled the ball in his box unnecessarily instead of clearing the set-piece thus allowing Betis to steal the ball of his foot and find Sidnie who rocketed the ball into the back of the net.

Benzema did equalize, but throughout the match, he was a shadow of that striker, who became a potent force since Cristiano left. The goals have dried up with just 2 in his previous 14 matches before the game at the Benito Villamarin.

He broke the jinx at Villamarin, but later on committed a blunder, which cost Real badly – he came down deep in midfield to add some extra-spice, but in turn sold Ramos short with a pass inside his own half, allowing Andres Guardado to slip in Cristian Tello through on goal.

It was the first time he had made a mistake leading to a goal in 338 La Liga appearances for Madrid and he was totally disgusted by the blunder.

Real lost and they deserved to lose.

It had been one of their worst displays in this season.