Real Madrid never really looked as dominant as they normally are in their 1-1 draw at Real Betis. With this result, the club has dropped its first points under the management of Zinedine Zidane. However, credit does have to be given to the home side.
Real Betis opened the scoring with a screamer inside eight minutes as Alvaro Cejudo volleyed towards the top corner from roughly 18 yards out. The technique, skill, timing and bravery of the strike is what made it so deserving of the early lead.
It took Real Madrid 71 minutes to equalize as James Rodriguez found Karim Benzema for the easy tap-in into an empty net.
Betis played in a 4-2-3-1 which allowed them to contain Real for most of the game but they did watch them easily enjoy most of the possession. This formation choice is the best for hitting on the counter.
The 4-3-3 enables Real Madrid to play possession, down the wings and potentially use eight players (fullbacks, three central midfielders and three forwards) to push hard for goal-scoring opportunities.
Cristiano Ronaldo was nowhere near his best form on a night where a Betis fan even went as far as attempt to spit at the Portuguese international captain. He couldn’t keep the ball for too long as the home side pressured him into making mistake after mistake.
As the number seven and the highest-scorer in recent seasons, Ronaldo needs to be nearly-perfect during every single game he plays. He is the face of the team and cannot lose sight of that. His teammates work hard for him to make things happen.
Gareth Bale was absent for this game but it is difficult and unfair to say that he was missed. Rodriguez who started in his place at right wing did notch the game-tying assist to Benzema as previously noted. He wasn’t at his best but not many were to be fair.
Now, Real Madrid sits in third with 44 points, four behind Atletico Madrid and Barcelona (who have one game in hand). Zidane now has to get even more from his players as winning at home will not be enough to win the league title. Maybe a high-profile signing such as Eden Hazard or Edinson Cavani could give the team the boost they need to perform at an even higher level in La Liga and the Champions League.