The clash against Real Betis was very important. Yes, the schedule is hectic and there are injury issues; but still, Real Madrid have been pulling things off amid the crisis – a victory against Betis would have been beneficial in a tight title race, sadly, it seems that the opportunity to defend the La Liga title looks thin.

The Los Blancos were missing the inventiveness and cutting edge that they exhibited in midweek at Cadiz and now find themselves two points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid.

Zinedine Zidane rolled out a starting XI that excluded Vinicius Junior in attack but saw Nacho Fernandez come in at left-back in place of Ferland Mendy, while Luka Modric once again got the nod in midfield.

Back-to-back chances came from Rodrygo Goes and Karim Benzema, the latter forcing a diving save from Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, Real Madrid were largely held in check for the first half.

Real Betis didn’t muster enough chances as the toothless display by the home side helped their cause.

After the break, the heavens opened up and Rodrygo was keen to try his luck from a tight angle with an audacious right-footed cross-shot that peeled some paint off the crossbar.

Just shy of the hour mark, Zidane went to his bench for the first time, with Vinicius coming on for Rodrygo, but the next chance went Betis’ way when Guido Rodriguez got loose in space outside the Real Madrid area but shot directly at Courtois.

That was followed shortly by a Canales ball into Borja Iglesias, who could not find a way past the big Belgian.

Zidane went to his bench to try to wrestle back some control – wing-backs Alvaro Odriozola and Marcelo were summoned for Dani Carvajal and Isco respectively.

Things were wide open going into the final quarter of an hour.

Betis surged forward when they could in search of a goal, while Real Madrid showed their fangs on the counter-attack.

Zidane’s final two changes saw the returning Eden Hazard replace Marco Asensio, while youngster Antonio Blanco replaced Modric.

The final minutes belonged to Real Madrid, but breaching Bravo and the Betis defence was an obstacle too many, leaving Zidane’s men settling for a point.

Zinedine Zidane isn’t concerned about his Real Madrid team after their draw against Real Betis on Saturday night.

“We dropped two points, that’s clear,” Zidane said after the game.

“We’re very good defensively but lacked a lot in attack. We lacked something, we weren’t great up top.”

“But we drop two points and it’s as though we’re bad. We’ve lost two points, but we’re focused on Tuesday. There’s a long way to go in La Liga and we’re going to fight until the end. It’s not over today.”

“We’re ready for the next game, which is going to be our most difficult of the entire season.”

“We were lacking something to win, that’s true, but we’re fine.”

Eden Hazard made his latest injury comeback by coming off the bench for the final 15 minutes and made a good impression.

“He was really impressive,” Zidane said about his No.7.

“We’re happy to see Eden because he’s a player who is going to contribute for us.”

Dani Carvajal also featured again, having done so in midweek as well. His availability against Chelsea remains uncertain.

“We’ll see what part he plays,” Zidane added.

“The other day I played 20 minutes and played a little more today.”


“The plan is to get Ferland [Mendy] back and to get Toni [Kroos] back. But we have to wait. We have to recover.”

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