Real Madrid missed the opportunity to return to the top of the table in La Liga as it fell to a late 2-1 defeat at Real Betis on Sunday.
Zinedine Zidane's side had climbed to the summit with its Clasico defeat of Barcelona last week, but it slipped back below it bitter rival after Quique Setien's men triumphed on Saturday and could not reclaim first place following a below-par display in Seville.
Indeed, Madrid would have been fortunate to emerge with even a point, as Betis enjoyed the better of the contest and led through Sidnei, only for the defender to swiftly concede a penalty at the other end that Karim Benzema scored.
Former Barca winger Cristian Tello netted with eight minutes remaining, though, and Los Blancos' have now won just once – against the Blaugrana – in their past five matches in all competitions, with Betis picking up their first win in seven top-flight games.
Madrid controlled a low-key opening but only Vinicius Junior's low shot wide threatened Joel Robles' goal, while Marc Bartra should then have headed Betis in front when a set-piece pinballed his way and the defender missed the target from point-blank range.
The host built up a head of steam as Thibaut Courtois produced a strong stop from Nabil Fekir's first-time strike, and Madrid was behind five minutes before half-time.
Fekir appealed for a spot-kick as he appeared to be felled by Casemiro just inside the area, but Sidnei marched onto the loose ball and sent a thunderous drive into the top-right corner.
The visitor was level heading into the break, though, as Sidnei hacked at Marcelo in the middle of the Betis box, prompting a penalty that Benzema coolly tucked away.
Joaquin had a golden chance to restore Betis' lead 10 minutes after the restart, but the veteran looked to square to Sergio Canales rather than finish into an empty net after rounding Courtois on the counter, allowing the recovering Luka Modric to clear.
A rare Madrid foray saw Robles parry clear Modric's effort and then watch Ferland Mendy's sublime follow-up bounce away off the crossbar, yet the latest slack piece of play from Zidane's side led to the winner.
Andres Guardado pounced on Benzema's wayward pass and fed substitute Tello to send Courtois the wrong way, with Betis subsequently holding firm amid considerable late pressure.
What does it mean?Madrid devoid of ideas
Zidane's charges might have won the Clasico, but Barcelona's Gerard Pique claimed this was the "worst Madrid" he had faced. The capital club had little by way of a response on Sunday as it struggled to break down a side suffering in the bottom half of the table.
Fekir the creative force
While Madrid largely lacked a threat in the final third, the same was not true of Betis.
Fekir is an inconsistent talent but ran this game at times. The home side's best work – including the opening goal – came when the former Lyon man got involved, either creating openings himself or drawing attention away from others.
Mixed fortunes for Marcelo
The left-back won the penalty that brought Madrid back into the match, but this was a tough outing.
Marcelo was given a torrid time by 38-year-old winger Joaquin in the first half, and he was then booked for a late challenge shortly before his 59th-minute withdrawal for Mendy.
The substitute will hope to make that position his own soon enough.
Key Opta Facts
- Real Betis' Rubi is the only manager to be unbeaten in his two La Liga games against Real Madrid this season (D2) and the first for Betis in a single top-flight season since Juande Ramos in 2001-02 (W1 D1).
- Real Madrid has suffered six defeats in 39 games this season in all competitions (W22 D11), four of them coming with Eder Militao in the starting XI (versus Paris Saint-Germain, Mallorca, Real Sociedad and Real Betis).
- Karim Benzema has scored the nine penalties he has taken for Real Madrid in all competitions, eight of them coming in La Liga. The Frenchman has taken more penalties without missing one than any other current La Liga player in the competition (8/8).
- Real Betis' Cristian Tello scored his first La Liga goal since April 2019 against Sevilla, ending a run of 23 league games without finding the net.
Madrid returns home to welcome Eibar on Friday before heading to Manchester City for its Champions League second leg. Betis has the derby against Sevilla next in a week's time.
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