Mesut Özil Gets A Brace: Real Madrid 3 - 1 Real Betis (La Liga 2013)

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

A fun game to watch, and a fairly comfortable win featuring a brace by Mesut Özil, but injury concerns blight the match as Luka Modric and Marcelo are substituted with injury and Karim Benzema looks to be carrying a knock.

For the neutral: an almost perfect game - well and fluidly played by both sides - little fouling and often end to end.

José Mourinho made a large number of substitutions, changing his backline to include Raul Albiol and Ricardo Carvalho with Nacho on the right. In the midfield: Brazilian Casemiro from the youth team (who gave a creditable performance) was placed next to Luka Modric. José Callejon was in for Ángel di María while Madrid's first-choice players finished off a make-shift line-up, with Mesut Özil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in the attack.

Real Betis had good chances, and both teams hit the post, but it was Özil, in combination with Karim Benzema who hit the first goal in the final minute of the first half, exchanging a quick double-pass with the striker before settling the ball onto his left-foot from the right side of the Betis penalty area from about 4 yards out. It was a beautifully constructed goal.

Madrid's second, equally beautiful goal, showed the other side of the team's game with a quick break that started with Diego López in goal. He played the ball out, as Özil, Ronaldo and Benzema raced up the pitch. Ronaldo fed the ball through to Benzema who scored.

Betis kept it an enjoyable evening for their fans when they scored off a penalty after Nacho's foul in the box. Betis scored their (extremely well-taken) penalty through Jorge Molina.

And there was even some final drama to keep the game spicy as Ricardo Carvalho's terrible headed back-pass in the penalty area led to Raúl Albiol having to clear off the line. 10 seconds of playing time later and it was Ronaldo who nearly scored at the other end.

Mesut Özil put an end to the evening with his second goal from close-range off Callejon's assist. His fourth goal in two league games, his second brace in a row, and he couldn't be choosing a better time to get his scoring boots on.

The negatives are the injuries. Marcelo came off, apparently in great pain, which means Raphaël Varane was sent on in his stead (with Nacho moving to the left). Modric came off clutching his hamstring. Karim Benzema appears to have a similar type of injury.

Madrid now has no available or fully fit fullbacks against Borussia Dortmund this coming midweek - for a second trip to the Signal Iduna Park. It's also hard to imagine Mourinho wanted Özil or Ronaldo playing the whole match either, which means there is more than one consequence of the injuries. Whether he wanted Raphaël Varane playing at all is also an open question.

As it is, Varane played over 80 minutes of this match.

UPDATE: Benzema is fine, Modric could miss the tie and Marcelo's injury is quite serious, according to Karanka.

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