Real Madrid vs. Real Betis – Real Madrid is the lone perfect team left in Spain’s La Liga after four matches of the new season. The defending Spanish and European champions are still on maximum points after a narrow 2-1 win over a spirited Real Betis side on Saturday.
Betis saw its own perfect record spoiled by the loss, which was decided by a Rodrygo goal in the 65th minute after the teams exchanged goals in the first half. Second-half sub Fede Valverde helped create the goal just one minute after coming into the match, serving up his Brazilian teammate for the winner.
The visitors started the match well, but after they were denied on a penalty shout, they conceded the opener to Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr. The Brazilian star beat the offside trap to run onto a ball over the top, and his control and lofted shot over the ‘keeper were exquisite, winning the applause of a loud Santiago Bernabeu crowd eager to see its team again after over 100 days since the last home match.
Former Real Madrid player Sergio Canales equalized later in the first half on a play that started off a throw-in. Teammate Borja Iglesias laid the ball off to him in the box, and Canales unleashed a first-time shot that beat Real Madrid ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois.
As the game wore on, Real Madrid had greater control of the math and they had multiple looks. Vinicius had a wide-open look that he sent high from point-blank range, a Rodrygo cross hit the corner of the goal, and an Aurelien Tchouameni header was saved off the line by goalkeeper Rui Silva.
Betis had its streak of five straight undefeated matches at the Bernabeu snapped by the loss, and they were not helped by the early injury suffered by Nabil Fekir, who seemed to get hurt on a play for which he was hoping for a penalty. Despite the fightback for the momentary 1-1 equalizer, they looked increasingly overmatched as the game progressed.
Carlo Ancelotti shows magic touch
Man management is one of the strengths of the Italian coach, and it has helped Real Madrid get the most out of its squad. For this game, he rotated some key elements of the side, giving young Rodrygo a confidence-boosting start, and handing the two fullback spots to fresh starters.
In the interim, Ancelotti was able to give Toni Kroos, Antonio Rudiger, and Fede Valverde a bit of a breather — they all came on as second-half subs — and his introduction of the Uruguayan Valverde delivered within a couple of minutes. He helped create the decisive second goal with a run into the attack that ultimately broke down the Betis back line which had resisted until that point.
Tchouameni excels, Camavinga struggles
Aurelien Tchouameni was once again masterful in the Casemiro deep midfielder role, covering ground, making key interventions and getting plays started. His positioning and feel for the game shone through, and he even had a header in the box which could’ve resulted in a goal if not for a spectacular save.
Meanwhile, his central midfield partner Eduardo Camavinga struggled to leave an imprint on the match. Camavinga’s second-half replacement, Fede Valverde, and veteran midfielder Luka Modric, highlighted what he lacked: a desire to get forward and combine.
In fairness, the match often saw the front three of Vinicius-Benzema-Rodrygo operating as a separate unit from the rest of the team, but Camavinga needs to want to join them in the attack instead of watching them do their thing. As Real Madrid grabbed control of the game, a few runs out of midfield could have helped finish off an attack or two.
Real Betis in the Champions League? They have work to do
There’s a clear gap in attacking quality between these two squads, and this will continue to hurt Betis in future head-to-head challenges against the top sides they need to beat out to a top-four place.
It did not help Real Betis that creative force Nabil Fekir left the match injured inside the first quarter of an hour, but the rest of the cast was ineffective. Sergio Canales came up with the goal and one breakaway run, but he was inconsistent, and Juanmi was easily neutralized. Without more help, Borja Iglesias was left to battle alone when he could’ve used more support.
Forget the attack. Manuel Pellegrini’s side would’ve benefited from his attackers at least winning a foul or two and giving his team a breather to reduce the pressure of the multiple waves of Madrid attacks. For a squad with a budget like Real Betis, game management is a key path to gain an edge and snag a result or two against the big boys.
Real Madrid vs. Real Betis final score
RMA — Vinicius Jr (David Alaba) — 9th min.
BET — Sergio Canales (Borja Iglesias) — 13th min.
RMA — Rodrygo (Fede Valverde) — 65th min.
Real Madrid vs. Real Betis live updates, highlights from La Liga
Final: Real Madrid 2, Real Betis 1
95th min.: In stoppage time there’s a controversial play in the Real Madrid box. Borja Iglesias appeared to get to the ball before Thibaut Courtois, who made contact with him. No call from the referee.
80th min.: SUBS – Real Madrid. Dani Ceballos (for Rodrygo) and Toni Kroos (for Luka Modric). There are still 10 minutes left and Real Betis are going for it.
76th min.:Hydration break and Real Madrid are about to make more subs.
75th min.: Great stop by Thibaut Courtois on a shot by Argentine midfielder Guido Rodriguez.
71st min.: Manuel Pellegrini makes three subs. Aitor Ruibal (for Youssouf Sabaly) at right back. Joaquin (for Juanmi), and Willian Jose (for Andres Guardado).
65th min.: Goal Real Madrid! Just a minute after coming on, Fede Valverde makes a run into the box and serves up a ball near the penalty spot for Rodrygo, who scores his first of the season.
64th min.: SUB – Real Madrid. Federico Valverde comes on for Eduardo Camavinga who has had a subpar game.
62nd min.: Things are picking up for Real Betis. Borja Iglesias with a shot in the Madrid box and Eder Militao applies the sliding block and celebrates his own defensive play.
53rd min.: This game is wild. After Betis left-back Alex Moreno gets a shot on goal, Real Madrid answers back with a dangerous combination between Benzema and Vinicius, and then a shot from Luka Modric. Some great action.
49th min.: Real Madrid chance! Karim Benzema was all alone at the far post, but his sliding deflection bounces strangely and is cleared off the Betis line! The ball went off Benzema’s arm in the process and the referee calls a free kick.
46th min.: The second half kicks off and it resumes where it left off with Real Madrid on the front foot.
Halftime: Real Madrid 1, Real Betis 1
Real Betis started so well, but then the half seemed to unravel for the visitors when they didn’t get a penalty, they allowed a goal, and Nabil Fekir had to leave the match injured. But credit to them for never backing down and finally getting the 1-1 equalizer on a play that started with a throw-in.
But Real Madrid came on strong as the minutes went by and they had Betis on their heels in their own box. A couple of misses, a couple of poor set pieces, and some good defensive plays from Betis meant that Madrid could not find a second. At least for now. Real Betis remain threat on the counter.
As we wait for the second half to start, you’ll enjoy this Spanish-language segment on the human side of Betis center-forward Borja Iglesias:
45th min.: Three minutes of stoppage time. Real Madrid are making plays! First it was Eder Militao who stuffed Sergio Canales on a breakaway attempt. Then Aurelien Tchouameni made a great play in midfield to earn the applause in his home debut.
44th min.: Real Madrid are closing out the half strong. They have possession, they’re combining well in attack, and Betis can’t get on the ball. One criticism of Madrid is that their set pieces have left something to be desired.
32nd min.: Real Madrid are the more dangerous of the two sides now. The home team goes vertical at speed and the front three are creating issues. Rui Silva is on his toes.
26th min.: Yellow card Betis. It’s Edgar who gets it for protests after he thought he was fouled in the match.
20th min.: Two great chances for Real Madrid! First, Vinicius Jr. fires high with only the goalkeeper to beat. Then moments later an Aurelien Tchouameni header is swatted away by Betis ‘keeper Rui Silva. Spectacular stop.
13th min.: Goal Real Betis! What a game we have. On a throw-in into the Real Madrid box, Iglesias lays it off to Canales, who fires past Courtois. The ex-Real Madrid man doesn’t celebrate. It’s 1-1.
11th min.: SUB — Real Betis. What a turn of events. Nabil Fekir seems to have picked up an injury and he’s out with Luiz Henrique replacing him. It looks like Fekir hurt himself on the disputed penalty shout.
9th min.: Goal, Real Madrid! Just like that, a ball over the top finds Vinicius Jr on the edge of the offside trap, he brings it down and then lofts it over the Betis ‘keeper. Classy goal.
6th min.: Betis playmaker Nabil Fekir goes down in the Madrid box! But it looked like he was searching for that contact. No whistle from the referee, and no VAR intervention.
5th min.: Real Betis have started with personality and two solid attacking movements already.
Betis left back Alex Moreno couldn’t control the ball to bring an end one action, and Real Madrid right back Dani Carvajal stopped the other in the box.
1st min.: We’re off. Real Betis kick us off. Vinicius Jr. with a nutmeg on his first touch.
5 mins from kickoff: Teams are out on the field. Andres Guardado wearing the captain’s armband for Sevilla. Karim Benzema has it for the home team.
There are 2,000 Betis fans at the stadium. They have work to do to drown out the Real Madrid crowd excited to be back at their home.
45 mins from kickoff: Here’s a look at the Santiago Bernabeu with a good chunk of that blue tarp finally removed. The south side section of tarp remains.
75 mins from kickoff: Real Madrid fans feel like there’s something of a hex on the team when it comes to facing Real Betis at the Bernabeu. This tweet probably best sums up their scoring struggles:
100 mins from kickoff: Real Madrid release their lineup two hours before the match as opposed to customary one hour, and Carlo Ancelotti made some changes (see lineup section further below).
Something’s got to give today with two perfect teams facing off. There’s only one other club still sporting a perfect record across Europe’s top five leagues.
120 mins from kickoff: It’s been 106 days since the last match played by Real Madrid at their Santiago Bernabeu home. Real Betis were the last team to visit the Bernabeu last season and they will be the first this season.
More importantly for Real Madrid fans: Their team is winless the last five times that Betis have visited.
Real Madrid vs. Real Betis lineups
Real Madrid are generally healthy, but with a UEFA Champions League coming up in midweek at Celtic, Carlo Ancelotti makes two changes to the lineup: Rodrygo is in for Federico Valverde, while Eduardo Camavinga starts in midfled with Toni Kroos on the bench. Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy also take up the fullback roles.
Los Blancos also get Nacho Fernandez back on the bench, and his return will be handy with reserve defender Jesus Vallejo out. Right-back Alvaro Odriozola is also not in the squad and hasn’t featured in La Liga play this season.
Real Madrid starting XI (4-3-3, right to left): 1-Thibaut Courtois (GK) — 2-Dani Carvajal, 3-Eder Militao, 4-David Alaba, 23-Ferland Mendy — 10-Luka Modric, 18-Aurelien Tchouameni, 12-Eduardo Camavinga — 21-Rodrygo, 9-Karim Benzema, 20-Vinicius Jr
Real Madrid subs (11): 13-Andriy Lunin (GK), 26-Luis Lopez (GK), 22-Antonio Rudiger, 6-Nacho Fernandez, 17-Lucas Vazquez, 19-Dani Ceballos, 8-Toni Kroos, 7-Eden Hazard, 11-Marco Asensio, 15-Federico Valverde, 24-Mariano Diaz
Real Betis centre-back German Pezzella will be serving a one-game red card suspension with summer signing Luiz Felipe filling in. The team will be light at holding midfield with William Carvalho out (undisclosed injury) and Paul Akouokou missing after his involvement in a traffic accident. The bright side is that Betis will have goalkeeper Claudio Bravo and forward Willian Jose in the squad after they were officially registered before the deadline.
Youssouf Sabaly gets the start at right-back over Aitor Ruibal, while Sergio Canales makes his first start of the season.
Real Betis starting lineup (4-2-3-1, right to left): 13-Rui Silva (GK) — 23-Youssouf Sabaly, 19-Luiz Felipe, 3-Edgar Gonzalez, 15-Alex Moreno — 5-Guido Rodriguez, 18-Andres Guardado —10-Sergio Canales, 8-Nabil Fekir, 7-Juanmi — 9-Borja Iglesias
Real Betis subs (10): 1-Claudio Bravo (GK), 25-Dani Martin (GK), 24-Aitor Ruibal, 33-Juan Miranda, 6-Victor Ruiz, 17-Joaquin, 28-Rodri Sanchez, 21-Loren Moron, 11-Luiz Henrique, 12-Willian Jose
Real Madrid vs. Real Betis live stream, TV channel
|Australia||Sun, Sept. 4||00:15 AET||—||Optus Sport|
|Canada||Sat, Sept. 3||10:15 ET||—||TSN GO, TSN site/app|
|Hong Kong||Sat, Sept. 3||22:15 HKT||Now Sports 2||Now Player, M Plus site/app|
|India||Sat, Sept. 3||19:45 IST||MTV India, Sports18||Voot Select, JioTV, Sports18|
|Malaysia||Sat, Sept. 3||22:15 MYT||—||beIN Sports Connect|
|New Zealand||Sun, Sept. 4||02:15 NZST||Sky Sport 7 beIN Sports||beIN Sports Connect|
|Singapore||Sat, Sept. 3||22:15 SST||—||beIN Sports Connect,|
Star Hub Sports+
|UK||Sat, Sept. 3||15:15 BST||—||LaLigaTV, Amazon Prime|
|USA||Sat, Sept. 3||10:15 ET||—||ESPN+|
UK: The Real Madrid-Real Betis match will be available on LaLigaTV, which streams on Amazon Prime Video in the UK.
USA: All La Liga matches in the USA are available to stream in English and Spanish on ESPN+.
Canada: TSN holds TV and streaming rights for La Liga in Canada with this match only available via stream.
Australia: Fans in Australia can stream all La Liga matches live and on demand on Optus Sport.