Madrid Sting Betis With Late Ruud Strike

Real Betis 1-2 Real Madrid

Ten men Real Madrid needed a late, late goal from Ruud van Nistelrooy to snatch an unlikely and barely deserved win at Betis, who themselves had to play out the final stretch of the game with just ten on the pitch.

Los Merengues, looking for their fourth straight La Liga win, went ahead through Gabriel Heinze but they were pegged back when Sergio García equalized from a rebound off his own penalty in the second half after Marcelo gave away the spot kick and was sent for an early bath.

However, the Betis goalscorer himself was dismissed ten minutes from time and they were made to pay dearly as Ruud van Nistelrooy struck a clinical winner deep into injury time.

First Half

It was all Madrid early on as they channelled all their attacks down the left and Arjen Robben saw plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges.

After just three minutes, he squeezed his way down the wing into the box and lured out three defenders before teeing up Ruud van Nistelrooy, but the striker’s shot was blocked by a crowd of legs in the penalty area. Moments later, he floated in a cross for Rafael van der Vaart but the playmaker’s unchallenged header was weak and Casto was able to gather it easily.

The first clear chance of the night came on ten minutes when Sergio Ramos slipped in a through ball to Rubén de la Red on the counter but the young canterano, streaming right through the middle into the box, saw his left footed effort palmed away by the Betis shot-stopper.

The Andalucians had to wait until the 16th minute before they could in get their first attempt at goal but Emana’s snap shot outside the box just shaded the right post.

Two minutes later, however, Los Blancos went infront. Robben won a freekick on the left, van der Vaart whipped in the delivery and Gabriel Heinze outjumped everyone in the area to head the ball into the back of the net.

Emana almost drew levelled for the hosts immediately when his curling low shot from 25 yards out was tipped around the post by an outstretched Casillas.

Casto had to do likewise just before the half hour mark when he had to make a full-stretched save to deny de la Red’s swerving drive from the edge of the box.

Betis, to their credit, kept on pushing forward despite the risk of being sunk on the counter attack and on 37 minutes, Damía latched on to Emana’s cushioned header but his half volley just flashed over the crossbar.

As the interval drew closer, both teams suddenly resorted to set-pieces to break down their opponents, as the game turned into a scrappy affair with a number of reckless and late tackles flying around.

Right before the half time whistle, Betis came agonizingly close to restoring parity. Mehmet Aurélio’s deflected cross from the right dropped kindly for Emana, who’s sideways half volley forced Casillas into a reflex save as he tipped the ball onto the foot of the post, before gathering the rebound gratefully.

Second Half

Fortunate to hold onto and take their lead into the second period, Madrid knew they had to step up their game. But it was Paco Chaparro’s men who picked up where they left off when Emana’s freekick caught the merengues wall by surprise but his low drive still failed to clear the crowded defence.

Schuster’s side responded to that threat when they came close to doubling their advantage on 50 minutes. Marcelo dinked in a cross from the left but van Nistelrooy, off-balance saw his looping header palmed over the bar easily by Casto.

Two minutes later, however, it all went south for Madrid. Marcelo brought down Damía inside the box and as the last defender, the Brazilian was duly given a straight red card. Sergio García stepped up for the spot kick but his tame effort was parried away by Casillas. However, the rebound fell kindly back to the ex-Real Zaragoza forward and he coolly tapped the ball into the empty net.

Los Merengues were suddenly on the backfoot as a confident Betis poured forward incessantly with Sergio García, José Mari and Capi all queuing up for a crack at goal.

Sensing a loss of control, Schuster sent in Miguel Torres to plug the gap on the left and Raúl had to be the sacrificial lamb. But that didn’t stop Los Verdiblancos from continuing their assault and on the hour mark, José Mari almost handed his side the lead when he slid in at the far post to connect with Emana’s glancing header but just narrowly missed making contact. 

Madrid clearly looked shaken as their crosses and shots in the final third of the pitch constantly went horribly astray.

Emana, for the umpteenth time, had a chance to put the ball in the back of the net when he connected a header with Sergio García’s freekick on 79 minutes but he sent his powerless effort straight at Casillas. 

But Betis’ man advantage was stripped away when Sergio García was shown his second yellow of the night for an infringement on Royston Drenthe. And the Andaluz outfit were made to pay for that when deep into injury time, van Nistelrooy struck the winner.

Robben led the counter attack and fed a through pass to Ruud, who steamed into the box on the left channel, waited for Casto to step out of his line before sweeping in a low shot into his bottom left corner.

It was a bitter defeat to take for Betis, who could easily have won the contest when they dominated for large spells after scoring the equalizer. For Madrid, it was a fortunate and scrappy victory but three points nonetheless that should keep them inside the top three.

LINE-UPS

Real Betis (4-2-3-1): Casto – Nélson, Arzu, Juanito, Monzón (Babic 75’) – Emana (Ilic 85’), Aurélio – Damía (Pavone 65’), Capi, Sergio García – José Mari

Unused subs: Ricardo, Rivera, Juande, Melli

Real Madrid (4-3-3): Casillas – Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Heinze, Marcelo – Van der Vaart (Drenthe 80’), Diarrà, De La Red (Javi García 68’) – Robben, Van Nistelrooy, Raúl (Torres 59’)

Unused subs: Dudek, Saviola, Higuaín, Metzelder

REAL BETIS 1-2 REAL MADRID

0-1: Real Madrid (Heinze 18’)

1-1: Real Betis (Sergio García 53’ pen.)

1-2: Real Madrid (Van Nistelrooy 90’+1)

BOOKINGS

Real Betis: Sergio García (43’, 81’), Pavone (79’), Juanito (88’)

Real Madrid: Van der Vaart (38’), Marcelo (39’), Casillas (75’),

RED CARD

Real Madrid: Marcelo (52’)

Real Betis: Sergio García (81’)

MATCH STATS

Possession: Real Betis 51% - Real Madrid 49%

Shots (On Target): Real Betis 15 (7) - Real Madrid 17 (8)

Fouls Committed: Real Betis 19 - Real Madrid 17

KS Leong