Real Madrid 0-0 Real Betis: Zinedine Zidane’s men suffer LaLiga title blow after drawing a blank despite return of Eden Hazard as visitors boost Europa League hopes
- Real Madrid suffered a further blow to their hopes of retaining the La Liga title
- The injury-hit hosts rarely got going and had few goalscoring opportunities
- Betis kept them on their toes but also failed to carve out clear-cut opportunities
Eden Hazard is back in time to face Chelsea. That was the best news to come out of Real Madrid’s second draw in a week. The league is slipping away from them – it could be win the Champions League or win nothing this season.
The Belgian got the last 15 minutes of this 0-0 against Betis and he looked lively on the rain-soaked surface at the Alfredo di Stefano stadium where Chelsea will play in three days.
The Belgian has only played 410 minutes in the league this season but he showed enough in this quarter-hour to suggest he will play a part against his former club.
Real Madrid rarely got going and had few goalscoring opportunities on Saturday night
He combined with Karim Benzema to set-up Vinicius but the Brazilian slipped in the rain as he received the pass. There was also a neat back-heeled flick for Marcelo as Madrid tried in vain to find a winner.
Their failure to win could see them lose precious ground in the title race if Barcelona and Atletico Madrid win on Sunday.
Zidane was also able to recall first choice defenders Dani Carvajal and Raphael Varane both back in the team after missing action through injury and coronavirus.
Real Betis forward Borja Iglesias jumps over Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois
Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema reacts after a missed chance against Real Betis
Carvajal just wanted to look forward to the visit of Real Madrid after the game. ‘This will have no bearing on that game,’ he said. ‘We will go for it on Tuesday.’
The first half passed without chances as defences dominated and no defender more than Madrid’s Militao who marshaled Betis’s best attacks.
Both teams had their chances at the start of the second half with Rodrygo hitting the crossbar with a cross-shot.
On 65 minutes Borja Iglesias could have put Betis ahead but Courtois came out and loomed large over the striker. He tried to lift the ball over the Belgian but the keeper blocked his soft shot. It was brilliant build-up from Betis with Diego Lainez and Sergio Canales combining well down the right.
Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard made his comeback from his latest injury
Hazard showed enough to suggest he will play a part against Chelsea in Champions Legue
With 15 minutes left Vinicius accelerated away from a tiring Betis defence but with Benzema having moved intelligently into space, the Brazilian, on as a substitute, went for goal instead and scuffed his shot.
As Militao had been impressive in the centre of Real Madrid’s defence in the first half so Victor Ruiz was dominating in the second. He slid-in majestically on Vinicius to concede a corner and from it Madrid had a penalty shout.
Miranda definitely handled Militao’s header as he jumped to clear but the match officials judged it not to be worthy of a spot-kick.
It was to be Madrid’s last chance. They could be three points behind Barcelona and five behind Atletico if both win on Sunday and Barcelona also gain a victory in their game in hand next Thursday. The Champions League looks more important than ever, it’s a good job Hazard appears ready to play his part.
Real Betis defender Victor Ruiz slides into challenge on Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior
Real Betis goalkeeper Claudio Bravo makes a save during Saturday’s stalemate
Zinedine Zidane’s men suffer LaLiga title blow after drawing a blank against Betis
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