Spanish La Liga match report Real Madrid v Real Betis 20 September 2017
Posted: 21 September 2017 Time: 00:01
A late winner from Antonio Sanabria gave Real Betis a shock 1-0 win over Real Madrid in a Wednesday night La Liga clash at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Betis came close agonisingly to scoring the opener in the third minute as Dani Carvajal cleared an Sanabria shot that was destined for the back of the net.
Real Madrid slowly found their feet and perhaps should have gone ahead in the 22nd minute, when Carvajal found Luka Modrić with a lovely cross. However, the Croatian midfielder blasted his shot over the bar.
Despite his many bright moments in the first half, Carvajal nearly gifted Betis a goal when his throw-in fell to the opposition, allowing Fabián Ruiz to force Keylor Navas into a fine save.
Towards the end of the half, Cristian Tello and Aïssa Mandi picked up yellow cards in quick succession for fouls on Marcelo and Toni Kroos respectively.
Andrés Guardado replaced Víctor Camarasa just before half-time in an injury-enforced substitution.
The sides went in level at the break — with Real Madrid in danger of falling further behind Barcelona in the title race.
The hosts came out firing at the start of the second half and almost broke the deadlock early on. Gareth Bale found Ronaldo with an inch-perfect low cross, but the Portuguese star fired over with the goal at his mercy.
In the 55th minute, Francis found himself one-on-one with Keylor Navas, but he somehow fired over the target — with nerves perhaps getting the better of him.
Within a minute, Real Madrid hit Betis on the break, with Ronaldo picking out Carvajal — who just failed to steer the ball into the back of the net from a difficult angle.
Zouhair Feddal was booked in the 59th minute for a foul on Modrić.
With 20 minutes left in the game, Marcelo came off injured and was replaced by Lucas Vázquez.
By this stage, Real Madrid were desperate for a moment of magic. In the 75th minute, they nearly found it as Gareth Bale fired a stunning backheel shot at goal. Antonio Adán pulled off a sublime save to tip it onto the post.
Betis had a 90th minute goal disallowed as Sanabria tapped the ball into the back of the net, but was caught out offside.
However, Sanabria was finally rewarded for his persistence in the fourth minute of stoppage time as he headed a cross from Antonio Barragán into the back of the net.
That goal proved to be the winner, leaving Real Madrid seven points behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga and with a mountain to climb if they are to defend their title.