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Immediate Reaction: Real Madrid 0 - 2 Real Betis

A terrible end to a terrible season

Real Madrid CF v Real Betis Balompie - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Real Madrid lose 0 - 2 to Real Betis (Moron, Jese). Here’s our quick reaction. Still to come: Player ratings, post-game podcast, and tactical review.

The last match of the 2018 - 2019 season ends in a symbolic way — a home defeat where Real Madrid’s main (and sparse) form of offensive curation was one man dribbling to create space. The team couldn’t finish their good opportunities, conceded chances through one or two vertical passes, and ultimately conceded a goal in the second half.

Hey — there was nothing at stake. Depending on where you are in the world, tuning in to this game would be considered laborious and even impressive. If you were watching just in case we get a James 2017 moment, you would have been left without any hints of goodbyes from any Real Madrid players — and if this was the last game for anyone today, it was unceremonious (apart from Keylor Navas’s, which we’ll get to).

And that’s fine. The is ultimately about the football we see on the pitch more than anything. But that’s problematic in a season like this where the process has been genuinely awful bar a few bright points which should carry over to the next campaign. Today’s loss at the Bernabeu was the 12th loss in the league — an unthinkable number.

If the first half was quiet for Real Madrid, the second half was painful to sit through.

In the first 45 minutes, there wasn’t a whole lot to note: Vinicius Jr’s dribbling in tight spaces was the only line-breaking element that Real had, and apart from some sharp touches from Marcelo; and good defensive interventions from Varane and Carvajal, it was a quiet half. The most exciting two-way sequence was when Benzema hit the post in the 34th minute, then Real Madrid’s high line conceded a chance shortly after — with Keylor making a nice save to force a corner.

The second half was torturous. Real Madrid didn’t really go into another gear to end the season, and Real Betis cut through Real Madrid in the 61st minute to open the scoring. A brilliant vertical pass from Lo Celso found Guardado, who squared it to Loren Moron at the far post just outside of Nacho:

And, just when you thought the football Gods couldn’t possibly script this any worse, Jese Rodriguez came off the bench to score Betis’s 2nd — Varane hedged off his man to block the cut-back, but didn’t realize no one was in position to cover for his gamble:

With that, it’s the first time since 1935 that Real Betis win at the Bernabeu back-to-back, per Phil Schoen on the BeIn commentary.

It was two goals conceded, and a loss to end the season, but as outrageous as it sounds, it was a good send off for Keylor. The Bernabeu chanted his name throughout the match, and if not for Keylor’s great saves, this would’ve been worse than a two-goal margin.

Gareth Bale didn’t feature in this one, which raise a lot of emotion on Twitter. For what it’s worth, I’m not going to lose sleep over Bale sitting this one out:

We’ll break this down more in the coming hours. But if you’re not interested much in the post-game coverage, check out last night’s mega mailbag podcast, which will be even more relevant than this match was.

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