Real Betis vs Real Madrid summary: score, goals, highlights, LaLiga Santander
Real Betis 0-1 Real Madrid: how it happened
Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal celebrated his return from a long injury lay off by firing his side to a 1-0 win at Real Betis in LaLiga on Saturday.
Carvajal volleyed home a cross from Karim Benzema to break the deadlock in the 61st minute in his first start for Real since April after missing most of last season and the European Championship due to a series of injuries. Carvajal struck immediately after Betis had squandered a glorious chance to take the lead when they won the ball deep in the visitors' half but striker Juanmi misplaced a pass when he had the opportunity to shoot.
Betis had a chance to snatch an equaliser deep in added time and Madrid were grateful to keeper Thibaut Courtois for getting across goal to keep out a low drive from Martin Montoya.
Carlo Ancelotti's Madrid side provisionally lead the table on seven points after their first three games, all of which have been away, having beaten Alaves 4-1 and drawn 3-3 with Levante. Betis have two points and remain without a win.
'The goal meant a lot to me as I've had a long difficult time on a personal level. I've spent so long working hard behind the scenes to get fit again and hopefully this year will be different,' Carvajal said.
Real were missing key players with Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Ferland Mendy injured while Eden Hazard was dropped to the bench by Ancelotti, who picked Vinicius Jr from the start after the Brazilian scored two goals as a substitute at Levante.
The build-up to the game had been dominated by Real's pursuit of Kylian Mbappé and their two colossal bids to Paris St Germain for the France striker. Their first half performance suggested they could certainly do with the dynamism and ruthlessness of Mbappé to liven up their attack. Benzema had their best effort in the first half when he fizzed a shot just wide, while Eder Militao had their only attempt on target before the break with a header straight into the arms of goalkeeper Rui Silva. But they did at least produce a cohesive display contrasting with the anarchy of last week's eventful game at Levante.
'We'd been scoring a lot of goals in the last two games but conceded a lot too so it was important to give a balanced performance before the international break,' added Carvajal. 'We began the game really well then struggled to play together. We showed more intensity after the break and tried to push them higher up the pitch.' (Reporting by Richard Martin)
Peep, peep, peeeeeep! It's all over and Madrid take the three points.
Montoya almost equalise
It's almost a leveller at the death as wonderful play from Tello ends with the ball being pulled back to Montoya who fires goalwards from about eight yards out.
Courtois dives to his left to smother and the game is surely now done.
Miranda and Fekir in a nice exchange as they search an equaliser but Carvajal does really well to nick in and come away with the ball.
A clumsy foul from Casemiro sees him join the others in the ref's notepad. It was blatent, but the midfielder still looks hard done by.
The Belgian forward collects the ball inside the Betis area to the left, shuffles his feet into position and lets rip. Decent attempt but straight at Silva.
Six minutes to be added.
Asensio wants something here. He's involved in the build up and then unleashes a power driver that flies over the bar. We've seen many of those break the net before, just not for a while.
A long throw is Betis' latest weapon of choice but rather than cause trouble allows Courtois plenty of time to gather, and a few more seconds taken off the clock.
A chance for Asensio to deliver from the corner again. This one is hit very firmly but the home defence stays strong and clears again.
Chances have dried up of late.
A forced change here for Ancelotti as Miguel picks up an injury. Rodrygo comes on for the closing stages...yes, he's a forward.
Where's Ramos and Varane when you need them!?
Betis change: club captain Joaquin is on. Canales switches off.
Asensio fouls, Asensio gets booked.
Corner for Madrid after a dangerous delivery from Vázquez. It's another fairly disappointing ball in that is cleared away, this time Asensio taking the ownership.
Betis: Iglesias on for Juanmi
Madrid: Hazard on for Vini
Water break time
Another newcomer to the game wants to make an impact. Camarasa fires from afar and had Courtois scampering across his goal line to make sure it was off target. It was...just!
Asensio is just on but he's already threatened more than others that have since left. Just wide.
Double change for Betis
Ruibal and Guardado OFF, Tello and Camarasa ON
Ruibal has a crack from just outside the area and again tests Courtois. The Belgian has had to be very aware tonight as shots and crosses have been from all over.
Double switch for Madrid
Bale and Isco OFF, Asensio and Vázquez ON
Betis look to immediately get themselves back into this and first Fekir then Ruibal deliver low into the Madrid area.
The final block results in a corner and the scramble in the box that followed sees the visitors given a free-kick escape.
GOAL!! Carvajal opens the scoring
A chipped cross from Benzema on the left picks out the full back charging forward who volleys home first time.
It came from a counter attack after a great opportunity was wasted by the hosts. Talk about double-punishment.
Montoya into the book. They're adding up for Betis.
Vini involved again and this time shows what he's capable of - or at least the other side of it. A Cruyff-like turn leaves two markers for dead. Great skills!
Vini gets it all wrong
Surely a goal is coming! Vinicius gets in front of the covering defender to meet the deep cross from the left but meets it on the volley with his foot at a very different angle than it needed to be.
Will Madrid regret these missed chances?
Karim ruled out
It's Benzema again, and this time he wheels away to celebrate after heading home. Once again the flag was up, and once again there is no debate.
Cross, header, save...offside
Bale has his first meaningful involvement of the night, and what a way to do it. Picking the ball up on the right he cuts back and fires a perfect curling cross onto the head of Benzema.
The striker gets good contact on it but Silva blocks away...and then we see the flag up. All very nice elements, despite being ultimately irrelevant.
Vini really not happy here as the ref Hernandez blows for a foul. The Brazilian was first to a loose ball and nicked it over the head of his opponent who went down holding his face.
No contact was actually made, looking at the replay, but it's fair enough to call dangerous play.
Space is now created just to the left of the Betis area and Benzema hits one of those curling blasters. It flies higher into the night sky than he can have envisaged at the point of contact.
Lovely flick from Valverde almost gets Madrid breaking through the lines but it quickly clogs up and any possible flow is lost.
Peep! Back underway...
The players are heading back out onto the pitch...
Heatmap: Gareth Bale
The Welshman has failed to light this game up in any way. Could Hazard replace him instead of the more likely Vini, who has threatened on the left.
A pretty even first 45, if I'm honest. Madrid came out the blocks fast and had a couple of very decent chances to settle nerves and quieten the crowd, but failed to take them.
Betis responded well and Fekir's free-kick called on a good stop from Courtois as the game started to take shape.
Possession was evenly split and goals could have come at either end. As it stands, it's all to play for...
Peep! The ref brings this half to an end.
A ball from the latest free-kick is floated high towards the Betis penalty area but only green and white shirts meet it. That's likely to be the final action of this half.
What comes after a flurry? Ruibal slides from behind into a challenge on Vini and takes the man. Card shown.
Then his boss Pellegrini gets carded for protesting too much. Let's just get to the break, lads.
We'll have three minutes added on here.
Two more bookings - I think that counts as a flurry - as Miguel Gutierrez (thigh thump) then Canales (arm flail) get their names taken in quick succession.
Pezzella is the second Betis player into the book and he can have few complaints.
More goal attempts (I'll get you the stats at half-time) as Juanmi's strike is stopped by Courtois.
Goals are surely coming... but at what end I'm less sure.
Good little spell of pressure here and Isco tries to drive an effort from the edge of the area inside the left upright. Silva watches as it glances by on the other side of the post.
The play quickly resumes with a corner and Casemiro's header is almost knocked home by Benzema but for an incredible stop from Silva again.
As it turns out the French striker was just offside.
It's the home keeper called into action now and he doesn't fluff his lines, reacting brilliantly to Carvajal's attempt.
Again some slick play in the middle of the park from the hosts. That ends with Montoya hitting goalwards only to see his effort fly just wide.
Plenty opportunities being created.
Back underway after some rehydration and Madrid earn themselves another corner. Isco this time takes but doesn't create any real threat.
Water break time
Another effort at the Madrid goal as Fekir tries his luck from distance.
High enough over that Courtois didn't have to worry this time but it got a few gasps from those at the other end of the stadium.
Ball in from the left by MIranda - after a delicious piece of skill to break free - almost catches out Courtois. Just over...and don't believe him if he says it was a shot!
No one on top right now, as Bale is forced back to help out his own defence.
Betis starting to fancy this.
Some lovely exchanges at pace has Betis firing towards the Madrid area but it ends with a moment of embarrassment for Fekir.
As the lively Frenchman enters the box he is surrounded by three players so throws himself to the ground in an attempt to win a penalty. The ref was in no doubt and showed him a yellow instead. Silly boy!
The resulting free-kick leads to Rodriguez getting a shot away but Courtois is well behind the effort.
Rubal tries to turn Miguel and get running into the green grass ahead but the young defender wasn't going to let him do that so pulls him down before giving an innocent pout to the ref.
With both Modric and Kroos missing, Valverde will be expected to have a big game and he's already getting himself involved in much of the build-up play.
A goal for el pajarito would add to this momentous game for him.
Madrid win another corner after Carvajal's push forward ends in a cross defended away. The same result comes from Alaba's deadball attempt.
Neat and tidy play on the right wing by Betis, with a variety of players taking a quick touch and opening space. Nothing comes of it but signs of confidence growing after being under the cosh in the opening minutes.
Courtois flying save
It's a very decent effort from distance but Fekir's celebrations are thwarted by a solid Courtois who throws himself to his left and punches away.
Nice open start to this game.
We've got a free-kick here that Fekir may fancy. It was a clumsy challenge from Alaba on the French midfielder and he's now lining it up...
More Madrid pressure
After a foul by Fekir, Madrid work the ball around the penalty area before it falls to Militao who strikes cleanly towards goal.
Decent power behind the effort but it's straight into the grateful arms of Rui Silva who does well to hold it.
Strong start from Los Blancos.
Benzema goes close
What a chance for the visitors. Vini does brilliantly to get round the defender and drove towards the near post before cutting the ball back.
A deflection sets it up perfectly for the number 9 who slides low, but just wide of the upright.
It's Alaba with the corner but headed away with ease.
Real Madrid, all in their purple shade, get a few touches around the back and then break down the left.
A diagonal switch and quick ball in ends with a corner being handed to them.
Peep! Real Madrid get us underway
Everyone is in position, it's almost time...
Players ready to take the stage
Right, the teams are heading out onto the field side-by-side as the Verdiblanco faithful raise their flags in unison and sing the club anthem.
The two goals conceded by Betis in their openers have called into question their defensive system. Or rather, the players who are part of it.
In Mallorca they conceded a goal due to a number of errors, in which Montoya was singled out, and against Cádiz it was Victor Ruiz with the schoolboy error that led to the penalty.
The fact is that a year ago, in these same two matchdays, the defensive solvency that Pellegrini had established in his team was praised, with two wins and two clean sheets against, Alavés and Valladolid.
Unless he can get back to that tonight, Los Blancos will be licking their lips at the chances that are likely to come their way.
Juanmi will be on Madrid's mind tonight given that he is the opposition's only scorer this season.
Aside from him though, Fekir - who almost joined Liverpool a couple of seasons back - and Canales, a former Madrid young hope, are likely to be constant threats.
Warming those muscles
There's been plenty of surface water pumped onto that pitch. Inside the stadium it's 25 degrees Celsius (77 Farenheit) as we edge closer to the 10pm kick-off in Seville.
I love playing against these big teams, full of superstars. You may not be 20 any more and it's twice as hard but, without belittling anyone else, when you play against opponents like this your adrenaline, your concentration and your desire to be better goes up.
That motivation is special.
The latest development in the Mbappé story is that as he has not asked to leave Paris Saint-Germain, he will be involved in Sunday’s trip to Reims, according to head coach Mauricio Pochettino.
L'Equipe confirmed the news that the striker will travel to Reims for Sunday's Ligue 1 clash. (PS we'll be bringing you that game live, and a certain Lionel Messi could feature!)
The white elephant in the room
Clearly most of the attention tonight is on this game but anyone linked to Madrid will also be very mindful of the negotiations that have been taking place regarding the possible arrival of Kylian Mbappé.
We've set up a rolling live feed to keep you across developments. Here it is.
Stadium of fans
Betis announced that there will be 23,745 fans in attendance tonight, which bang on the limit established for the covid protocol in Andalusia.
Madrid's social media team turned on their video app to give us a view of what will be (partially) filling up.
The big news from Ancelotti's decisions is that Eden Hazard has been left on the bench with Vinicius coming in to provide a threat off the wings.
The young Brazilian has started himself off the bench in the last two games, but his three goals in those matches seems to have convinced the gaffer of his value.
Miguel gets his chance at left-back.
Starting XI: Madrid
Courtois, Carvajal, Militão, Alaba, Benzema, Casemiro, Valverde, Bale, Vinicius Jr, Isco, Miguel
Starting XI: Betis
Rui Silva; Montoya, Pezzella, Víctor Ruiz, Miranda; Guido, Guardado, Canales; Ruibal, Fekir, Juanmi
Looks like we could be getting some team news through...
How it stands: Madrid
Los Blancos' fans were disappointed with the 3-3 draw away to Levante last time out, especially after an impressive 1-4 victory at Álaves in their opener.
They come into this fixture knowing that a win would take them top of LaLiga, at least for a few hours.
How it stands: Betis
OK, OK, I know we're only two games into the season but let's have a quick look at how the table looks anyway.
Betis are yet to get really going and have started with two draws, both ending 1-1 against Cádiz and Mallorca, respectively.
When it's Betis Day it's different
The turtle is out, and he's sorting out his weapons for the visitors.
Betis vs Madrid live: welcome
Hello and a very warm welcome to you wherever you are joining me from.
We at AS English have another tasty live offering for you, with LaLiga Santander taking center stage. It's the final match of Saturday in the Spanish top flight as Real Madrid head south to face Real Betis.
The Estadio Benito Villamarín is our stage, I am your narrator, and soon the protagonists will step out to (hopefully) entertain us.