Ramos 5/10 as Madrid surrender their La Liga lead at Betis

Real Madrid fell two points behind Barcelona at the top of La Liga after a 2-1 defeat to Real Betis on Sunday at the Benito Villamarin.

The first half saw Thibaut Courtois save brilliantly from Nabil Fekir before he was beaten at his near post by a screamer from Sidnei.

Five minutes later, the Betis defender went from hero to villain as his clumsy challenge on Marcelo gave Karim Benzema the chance to equalise from the spot.

Substitute Ferland Mendy hit the bar in the second half as Madrid pushed for a winner, but Cristian Tello scored for Betis late on.


There are few positives to take from a game that Real Madrid went into under significant pressure, with Barca having scraped a win a day earlier.

At least Madrid responded well to the Betis opener, making it all square before half-time, and they did create some second-half chances, but that's no consolation for a result that leaves the La Liga title race wide open.


Madrid's Clasico win was a huge boost, but that momentum -- and their lead at the top -- has been blown. This was a frequently chaotic performance against a Betis side that have been in abysmal form, without a win in six league games before tonight and with coach Rubi on the brink of dismissal.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Zinedine Zidane made three changes to the team that beat Barcelona. Two were enforced -- Dani Carvajal missed out with flu and Isco with back pain -- and Federico Valverde dropped to the bench. Madrid missed the Uruguayan's energy in midfield. The most noticeable switch was the inclusion of Lucas Vazquez, meaning the team had proper wingers and pace on both flanks, but the move to 4-3-3 didn't pay off.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Thibaut Courtois, 7 -- Courtois' outstanding first-half stop from Fekir was one of the saves of the season, but he was caught out by Sidnei's unexpected rocket of an opener. Got lucky when Joaquin rounded him only to pass instead of shooting.

DF Eder Militao, 6 -- Forced into action at right-back in the absence of Carvajal and Nacho. Militao hasn't had the season you might expect from the most expensive defender in Real Madrid's history and found it hard to cope with Fekir here. Has a big month coming up and will start against Manchester City with Ramos suspended.

DF Sergio Ramos, 5 -- Not the captain's best night. Could have given away a first-half penalty if Sidnei hadn't scored before the referee could blow his whistle. Deserves credit for allowing Benzema to take the penalty, knowing his teammate was desperate for a goal.

DF Raphael Varane, 7 -- Varane's pace so often gets Madrid out of trouble, and he needed it on a night when the defence was tested by a fluid, mobile Betis attacking lineup featuring Fekir, Joaquin and Sergio Canales.

DF Marcelo, 6 -- Kept his place after an impressive Clasico and rewarded Zidane's faith and patience when he won the penalty for Madrid's goal. Picked up an injury and was substituted with half an hour remaining.

MF Casemiro, 6 -- The Brazilian's ability to avoid a booking is extraordinary at times. Escaped a first-half yellow card here for a tackle on Fekir.

MF Toni Kroos, 6 -- A quiet night, unable to control the game in the manner to which he is accustomed. Replaced by Mariano Diaz as Madrid looked for a second goal.

MF Luka Modric, 8 -- Started after being left on the bench for El Clasico. Often seemed to be fighting a lone battle in midfield. Raced back to his own goalmouth to save Madrid when Joaquin went round Courtois in the second half and had a shot well saved by Joel.

FW Lucas Vazquez, 6 -- A surprise pick by Zidane and did little to justify his selection. A hardworking player and useful squad member, but his presence in the team says more about the standing of Gareth Bale than anything else.

FW Vinicius Junior, 7 -- Had been one of Real Madrid's best players against Manchester City and Barcelona and was one of their better performers here. Shot into the side netting early for Madrid's first chance of the game.

FW Karim Benzema, 5 -- Scored the goal he needed -- with one goal in 10 La Liga games before tonight -- from the penalty spot but otherwise looked badly out of form. Gave the ball away for the Betis winner. Benzema is lucky that Zidane's alternatives are so unconvincing.


DF Ferland Mendy, 7 -- Replaced the injured Marcelo with half an hour to go and impressed, coming as close as anyone to scoring when he hit the bar.

FW Mariano Diaz, 6 -- Came on as Madrid chased the winner but was unable to score off the bench as he did against Barca.

MF Federico Valverde, N/R -- Played the last 10 minutes as Zidane looked to give the team fresh legs.