Ronaldo, Ramos Fire Real Back On Top Of La Liga Summit
Real Madrid took advantage of Barcelona’s slip up earlier in the day as they came from behind to beat 10-man Real Betis 2-1 at the Bernabeu on Sunday.
Antonio Sanabria sent Betis into a 25th-minute lead in the Spanish capital, but Cristiano Ronaldo leveled the scores five minutes before the break, before Sergio Ramos headed Real Madrid’s winner late on.
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane made four changes to the team that started against Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday night, with Nacho, Isco, James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata replacing Pepe, Casemiro, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.
As for Betis, Ruben Castro returned to the XI after missing their mid-week clash with Deportivo La Coruna, while Sanabria and Dani Ceballos kept their places in the 5-3-2 formation.
James was next to try his luck for Real Madrid from distance, but Betis goalkeeper Antonio Adan was on hand to make a smart save, before Isco whistled a powerful strike wide of the post two minutes later.
Betis’ first attempt on target followed soon as Castro found a yard of space in a forward position before having a go, but Real Madrid stopper Keylor Navas was on hand to make the stop during an end-to-end period of the match.
There was big controversy in the 22nd minute when Betis midfielder Darko Brasanac broke through into a one-on-one situation with Navas before going down under a late challenge from the Costa Rican international, but the referee was not interested, despite replays indicating that the goalkeeper should have received his marching orders for the last-man challenge.
Navas was then involved in the opening goal of the night three minutes later as the Real Madrid stopper somehow spilled a low strike from Sanabria over the goal-line after initially seeming to deal with the number nine’s tame effort.
The response from Real Madrid was strong, however, and the home side levelled the scores five minutes before the interval when Ronaldo headed a wonderful Marcelo cross past Adan after being afforded too much space inside the Betis box.
Betis managed to put the home side under some pressure in the latter stages and came close to a leveller through a Sanabria header in stoppage time, but Real Madrid held on to secure a vital victory on a weekend where Barcelona and Sevilla both dropped points.
Madrid faces Athletic Bilbao next weekend, while Betis will attempt to return to winning ways when they host basement side Osasuna.