Real Madrid 0-1 Real Betis: Visitors snatch last-gasp victory on Cristiano Ronaldo return
By Pete Hall
Last Updated: 21/09/17 8:55am
Real Betis ruined Cristiano Ronaldo's return to domestic action as Real Madrid slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night - Betis' first win over Real in 19 years.
As Real threw everyone forward in search of a winner late in the day, Betis countered, with Antonio Sanabria heading a stoppage-time winner to spark jubilation on the Betis bench.
Ronaldo - returning from suspension after his red card in the Spanish Super Cup - had numerous chances to ensure Real made it 74 consecutive games finding the back of the net, but couldn't find a way past the excellent Antonio Adan in the Betis goal.
Gareth Bale came closest for the hosts, but saw his brilliant flicked effort tipped on the post by Adan, before Sanabria scored the most dramatic of winners to inflict a defeat which leaves Zinedine Zidane's men seven points behind leaders Barcelona, and still without a win at home in the league all season.
Real Madrid: Navas (7), Carvajal (6), Ramos (6), Varane (6), Marcelo (6), Casemiro (6), Kroos (7), Modric (7), Isco (5), Bale (6), Ronaldo (5).
Subs: Vazquez (6), Asensio (6), Borja (6).
Real Betis: Adan (9), Feddal (7), Durmisi (7), Barragan (7), Mandi (7), Javi Garcia (8), Fabian (7), Camarasa (7), Sanabria (8), Tello (7), Francis (6).
Subs: Boudebouz (6), Joaquin (6), Guardado (6).
Man of the match: Antonio Adan
Real began the game on the back foot, and would have been behind as early as the fourth minute but for Dani Carvajal's brilliant clearance from under his own crossbar to deny Sanabria.
Six minutes later and Real had also been denied by a block on the line. Sergio Ramos headed the ball back across into the dangerzone, Ronaldo back-heeled for goal, but Javi Garcia was there to get his body in the way and clear.
The half-chances kept coming for Real, with Modric finding the side-netting from a good position but, on the whole, Betis were comfortable for the remainder of the first half, and were only denied an opener by a fine Keylor Navas stop late in the half.
As expected, Cristiano Ronaldo made his return from suspension. Teenage full-back Theo Hernandez has a partially dislocated shoulder so he missed out, while Borja Mayoral was the man to make way for Ronaldo. Toni Kroos also returned. There was no Karim Benzema in the squad. Betis' veteran Joaquin, who netted twice at the weekend, was only on the bench.
Ronaldo's moment came just after the interval, but with the Bernabeu expecting the net to ripple, Ronaldo blazed Bale's perfect cross over the top with the goal at his mercy.
The chances came thick and fast. Francis wasted a glorious chance for Betis when clean through as the youngster blazed over, before Carvajal could only find the side netting on the slide from close range.
Zidane tried everything as he searched for that elusive opener, with four strikers on the pitch for the final 20 minutes. Bale tried the outrageous flick through his legs, which Adan acrobatically kept out, setting up the most dramatic of final few minutes.
Real committed everyone forward, with Ramos also a makeshift striker, but that left holes at the back, which Betis exploited. Antonio Barragan carried the attack to Real, cut back inside, clipped a brilliant cross right onto the head of the unmarked Sanabria, who steered the header into the net to silence the Bernabeu and give Barcelona an early boost in the title race.
Man of the match - Antonio Adan
Real were flat for large parts of the game, but with so much ability, they still created numerous openings, only to be thwarted time and again by Adan. The Betis stopper, against his former club, was a man possessed at times, as he flung himself across his goal to keep all manner of strikes out.
Real should make it three wins from three on the road when they take on lowly Alaves on Saturday, a side who have lost all five games so far this season.
Betis will welcome a return to their home turf, where they are in fine form, when they host Levante on Monday night, live on Sky Sports.