Real Madrid lose a heart-breaker at the Bernabeu to a stunning late goal from Sanabria. Real Betis earn a fully deserved three-points. Here is our quick reaction. Still to come: player ratings, tactical review, post-game podcast, and more.
This was one of those ‘I have no how idea how I’m going to write my reaction’ type of games. Real Madrid were hunting their goal like a pack of wolves — particularly in the last 20 minutes — with a gung-ho, top-heavy scheme that was thin at the back. Marcelo had left the pitch injured, replaced by Lucas Vazquez (whilst Borja Mayoral came in for Luka Modric to help put pressure on Betis’ staunch back-line with off-the-ball movement); and the team relied on last-ditch tackling from Varane, Casemiro, and Ramos.
It was a nerve-wracking experience.
And tough to fully understand. Real Madrid played well, all things considered. Luka Modric’s movement, touches, and slicing through-balls were almost perfect all night; Gareth Bale put in his best performance of the season (laying golden passes that should’ve led to at least one assist, while nearly scoring a samurai goal late in the match); Ronaldo was active, and Real Madrid’s build-up play on most nights would’ve led to a goal or two.
Amid the madness, all pragmatism in build-up was completely lost. Real Madrid were rushing five-to-six players in the box to meet in-swinging crosses, and when they couldn’t connect with the pass, they had no one to retain possession and stop Betis’ dangerous counters.
But Real Betis deserve a lot of credit. They weren’t ever going to threaten a lot (they actually did threaten enough, by the way, despite not starting Sergio Leon, Guardado, and Joaquin); but they were tremendous defensively.
As I gather myself to finish this reaction, Sanabria scores in the 94th minute — Betis take advantage of Real Madrid’s lack of transition defense, and Ramos fails to pick up his far-post mark. Betis earn a very deserved victory at the Bernabeu. Gabe and I will break this down shortly on tonight’s Patron podcast.