A goalless draw at the Bernabeu. Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, and tactical review.
Earlier tonight, both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid dropped points against Levante and Sevilla respectively — laying down the perfect foundation for Real Madrid to leap-frog into first place against a struggling Real Betis side.
But these things are never routine, and past-precedence tells us that Real tend to struggle when there is an opportunity to capitalize when a rival slips.
It was one of those games where the tension grew with each passing minute — the kind of match where the Bernabeu grows restless in their seats as the clock ticks away.
Betis were scouted thoroughly by Zidane’s coaching staff, as Real implemented a high press — something Rubi’s side have struggled dealing with this season. And the press — though loose and permeable at times — was effective. Betis looked unnerved building from the back.
They weren’t punished for it, though — particularly Robles who desperately cleared the ball praying to find an outlet. Hazard had a sharp offensive game and was incisive with his dribbling, but when he found the back of the net tonight, it was recalled for offisde. Benzema got into good spots and ignited a few counter attacks — but the team fell at the final hurdle. Rodrygo’s decision-making was sharp as he combined well with Modric — but Betis were efficient clearing cut-backs. Meanwhile, Rubi’s men had 10 shots at the half — mainly through long distance shots off of giveaways, or through sporadic counters.
Even if you had invested interest in this game, it was tough to watch. Betis were playing a defensive scheme, and Real didn’t generate many quality chances. The second half did not get much better, although, on a rare moment where Betis played a suicidal high line, Ferland Mendy broke through, but put his shot wide:
Things got better when Vinicius came on for Rodrygo in the second half. The change brought more chaos, as Vinicius spearheaded plenty of counters and was involved heavily in attack combining with Benzema and Carvajal.
The xG took a spike when Vinicius came on pic.twitter.com/P03WoCUBuM— Kiyan Sobhani (@KiyanSo) November 2, 2019
Real Madrid surged forward, but couldn’t score. They almost surely looked like earning a penalty when Zouhair Feddal blocked a low cross with his arm:
Real Madrid had a few scrambles in the box which they somehow didn’t score from. Robles came up big saving a Vinicius chance at the far post, and Ramos was involved in a big chance that somehow didn’t cross the line in the 91st minute.
We’ll break this down in the coming hours. Om and I will have the post-game podcast up tonight.