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Deportivo La Coruña
November 24, 2012
• 4:00 PM
• Estadio Benito Villamarín, Sevilla
Referee: Jesús Gil
• Attendance: 48500
Full-time here and it's finished Betis 1-0 Real Madrid. Benat's first-half strike was enough to settle matters, as Los Blancos laboured in front of goal and failed to hit anything like their form against Athletic Bilbao a week ago, although they will point to two poor offside decisions which denied Benzema two more goals. For Betis, what a difference a week makes - five goals shipped and total defensive disarray last time out, but today, their makeshift backline was superb in denying Ronaldo and Co. Mourinho's men remain five adrift of Atleti and eight of Barca, and with Tito Vilanova's side to play tomorrow, they could open up a potentially-insurmountable gap...Thanks for joining me tonight, and don't forget to follow Goal.com for live coverage from all of tomorrow's top matches!
90' + 3'
Kaka appeals for handball but the referee waves away the protests... and blows for full-time! Betis have beaten the champions!
90' + 2'
Coentrao fires another ball in but Adrian gathers with ease. The champions' heads are beginning to drop here - they can sense their grip on the title slipping.
90' + 1'
Three minutes of stoppage time to be played...
Coentrao lofts the ball into the box and Ramos heads across goal to Benzema but Adrian punches clear. Ronaldo then smashes an effort well wide of the target, much to the delight of the home fans, who are beginning to believe they can hang on.
Modric feeds Callejon, but Betis once again scramble the ball clear. With three centre-backs missing and having shipped five goals last week, this has been a commendable display from Amaya and Co.
SAVED! Adrian parries the shot over the bar, and follows it up with a point-blank block from Pepe's header from the ensuing corner. He does not want to be beaten today!
Another chance for Ronaldo with a free-kick, 25 yards out, right in front of goal...
Coentrao is caught by Agra's studs just above the eye, and we've a brief stoppage in play as the full-back receives treatment.
Real Madrid are struggling with their final ball. Karim Benzema fires a cross over the penalty area, and a moment later, Kaka works space down the left but his cross sails behind. Frustrations are growing on the visitors' bench.
Yellow Card Beñat
BIG chance for Real Madrid! Another Alonso free-kick finds Kaka at the far post, and the Brazilian strikes the ball off Ramos and it just misses sneaking in at the near post. A lucky break there for Betis, but no more than they deserve.
Half a chance for Pepe as he meets Alonso's cross, but it's straight at Adrian. A moment later, Betis break after winning the ball in midfield but Ruben Castro wastes the chance.
Yellow Card José Cañas
Yellow Card Sergio Ramos
Big chance for Betis! Sergio Ramos picks up a booking as he takes down Agra on the right touchline. From the free kick, Salva Sevilla finds the ball at his feet in the area, and he works some space before firing just over the bar. Could that prove a costly miss?
Ronaldo and Kaka combine well and the Brazilian dances towards the edge of the box with some super footwork, but Canas tracks him all the way and earns a goal kick. The hosts' patched-up defence is continuing to frustrate the champions.
Betis launch a quick free-kick to Ruben Castro but he can't quite control the ball inside the box. The hosts have been under pressure for most of the half, but another goal on the counter does not look beyond them.
Ángel Di María
Kaka - good save! The Brazilian rifles a shot from 25 yards but the Betis stopper parries well clear. Kaka has looked lively since his introduction.
Coentrao's deep cross is cleared to Di Maria, who cuts inside and shoots low but it's straight at Adrian. Moments later, Ronaldo latches on to Pepe's ball and whips the cross in but Adrian does enough to keep the ball out of the goal and away from Benzema.
Pepe is the latest to find himself in the referee's notebook, as he concedes a free kick on the edge of the area. Casillas watches the delivery fly past the post.
Yellow Card Pepe
Benzema has the ball in the net, but again he is flagged for offside - and once again, it's a poor call from the officials, as the Frenchman was clearly a yard onside.
Yellow Card Adrián
Half a chance for Ronaldo there! The Portugal skipper is slipped in behind the Betis defence and he rounds the out-rushing Adrian, but having been forced wide, he can only chip the ball back in and the hosts clear their lines. Something of a nearly moment there.
Kaka finds Di Maria and the Argentine slips it through to Arbeloa, but the Spaniard's cross is easily cleared. Di Maria's ensuing corner comes to nothing.
...Ronaldo strikes, but hits the base of the wall and it's out for a throw-in. Poor effort.
Modric makes an early impact as he bursts down the right and crosses for Ronaldo, but it's too close to Adrian. Real Madrid are looking to get on the front foot early here. Ronaldo wins a free kick, 30 yards out, centre of the goal. Only one real candidate to take this...
Jose Mourinho has rung the changes - Kaka and Luka Modric have come on for Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil. The visitors get us back underway...
@Rosedammy is confident the visitors can spark a Manchester United-esque comeback in the second half. @Nguanko agrees, saying we should 'sit back and relax' and wait for Ronaldo to take charge. His side certainly need some of his magic tonight... Second half is around ten minutes away, so keep your thoughts coming - @JoeWright004 is where to go!
So Betis lead by one goal to nil at the break, courtesy of Benat's well-aimed strike after quarter of an hour. Real Madrid have enjoyed plenty of the ball but they've struggled to get any real momentum going, while a resilient home side have worked tirelessly to frustrate their opponents' efforts going forward. Second half to follow shortly!
45' + 1'
And with that, the referee blows the whistle for the interval.
Brilliant defending from Betis. Coentrao skips towards the area but his cross is cleared away, and Khedira is twice foiled on the follow-up by well-timed blocks before Benzema is flagged for offside. The hosts are determined to hold their lead until half-time.
Bizarre play from Casillas there, as he decides to try a spot of keepy-uppy on his own goaline before scuffing his kick clear. That could have been a disaster for the Blancos skipper.
Yellow Card Salva Sevilla
Betis look for a second but Agra's cross is too deep. At the other end, Ronaldo is freed down the right, but his cross is deflected harmlessly into the keeper's arms. Salva Sevilla is booked a moment later for bringing the Portuguese down.
GOAL - NO! Disallowed! Benzema turns home Alonso's free-kick but the flag is raised for offside. Replays suggest that was an incorrect call from the official, but the score remains 1-0 Betis.
The tempo has slowed a little now. Betis' makeshift backline has coped admirably with the visitors' attack, and Mourinho's men look to be getting a little frustrated with their hard-working hosts. Ozil epitomises this with a poorly-weighted through-ball to Benzema, which Adrian gathers with ease.
CHANCE - OFF THE BAR! Superb one-touch play between Ozil and Di Maria allows the Argentine a shot from the edge of the area, but it's deflected up and on to the top of the crossbar and behind. Great play from Madrid, but a chance goes begging.
Di Maria latches on to Ronaldo's cross and pokes goalwards from a tight angle, but it's blocked behind. The corner comes to nothing and Castro clears the lines.
Betis force a corner of their own, and Benat's deep delivery finds Amaya totally unmarked at the far post, but he heads the ball behind. Decent chance for the hosts there - Coentrao seemed to have switched off.
Alonso flights in a free-kick but Dorado beats everyone - including his keeper - to clear. Betis then deal with a string of crosses following Ozil's corner with some strong aerial defending.
Super skill from Ronaldo to work space down the left but his deflected cross is cleared. Moments later, Ozil tricks his way past two challenges but his flighted ball is easily gathered by Adrian. Madrid's final ball has been poor so far.
Jose Mourinho's men look a little shellshocked here, as they find themselves behind after bossing the opening phase of the game. Betis have been working hard off the ball and took their chance well when it came, much to the delight of the home faithful.
GOAL!!! BENAT PUS BETIS IN FRONT!! Ruben Castro forces a throw-in, and Di Maria's rushed clearance is picked up by Benat. He skips past the challenge of Khedira before driving low past Casillas into the bottom right-hand corner from 20 yards. Totally against the run of play, but Betis lead the champions!
Betis enjoy a rare foray into the Real Madrid half, and Ruben Castro earns a throw-in.
Di Maria has switched to the right now, and his cross is cleared by Dorado following Xabi Alonso's long pass. Total control from Jose Mourinho's men in the early stages here.
CHANCE - over! Brilliant run from Ronaldo down the left allowed the Portuguese to cut back inside before laying the ball to Sami Khedira at the edge of the area, but the German sidefoots high and wide. Good chance there.
Ozil plays in Ronaldo on the overlap but Adrian blocks at the near post. The corner is headed back in and drops just under the crossbar, forcing the keeper to punch clear under pressure. Nervy moments for the hosts.
Di Maria tries to wriggle his way through but is dispossessed. A huge night for right-back Angel tonight against the Argentine - he's making his first Liga start of the season.
And the hosts get us underway...
The teams are emerging from the tunnel now, with the home fans in brilliant voice - they're clearly dertermined to forget about last week's mauling by Sevilla as soon as possible...
With Barcelona not in action until tomorrow night, Real Madrid have the chance to close the gap at the top of La Liga with a win tonight. What are your predictions? Score? Scorers? Key players? Hit me up on Twitter at @JoeWright004...
And for the visitors: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pepe, Ramos, Coentrao; Khedira, Xabi Alonso; Ronaldo, Ozil, Di Maria; Benzema. SUBS: Adan, Albiol, Varane, Modric, Kaka, Callejon, Morata. Jose Mourinho makes one change from the side which drew with Manchester City, as Mesut Ozil replaces Luka Modric, who drops to the bench. Gonzalo Higuain is still out with an injury.
Team news first, starting with tonight's hosts Real Betis: Adrian; Amaya, Dorado, Alex, Angel, Benat, Salva, Juankar, Agra, Canas, Ruben Castro. SUBS: Casto, Pozuelo, Nacho, Molina, Nosa, Nono, Campbell. Defensive duo Paulao and Mario remain sidelined through injury, while midfielder Ruben Perez is suspended.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Real Betis v Real Madrid! I'm Joe Wright and I'll be guiding you through all of tonight's action as Los Blancos look to close the gap to rivals Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of the pile.
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