Real Betis 2-1 Real Madrid: 3 reasons why the Galacticos lost the game which could cost them the title | La Liga 2019-20
- Real Madrid went down 2-1 to Real Betis as Zidane's men were tactically outclassed by an inferior Betis side.
Real Betis controlled the entire game throughout the ninety minutes unexpectedly while Real Madrid tried everything possible to get their usual flow of play going, but the Galacticos were far from winning last night at the Benito Villamarin.
The first and the biggest chance of the game for Betis came in the 36th minute when Toni Kross lost the ball in the midfield which enabled the home team to counter and feed Nabil Fekir who struck a great shot at goal just to be met by an amazing Thibaut Courtois save.
Los Verdiblancos had total momentum in the game and that proved crucial as they opened the scoring in the 40th minute when Brazilian centre-back Sidnei scored a belter of a shot from the right side of the penalty box to beat Courtois at the near post.
It was the goalscorer who provedto be the villain just before the half-time whistle when he tripped fellow Brazilian Marcelo to hand Madrid a penalty.
Karim Benzema fired a low shot in the left corner coolly as the opposition keeper dived in the wrong direction to make it 1-1 at half-time.
The second half was again dominated by Real Betis as Madrid could only counter-attack by the few chances given to them by the opposition.
The game was heading for a draw as the teams moved into the last 10 minutes of the game, but ex-Barcelona man Cristian Tello had other plans.
As captain Sergio Ramos misplaced a pass out of defence straight into the path of the Betis midfield, Andres Guardado slid the ball through to Cristian Tello who was one-on-one with Courtois but calmly slotted the ball beyond the keeper to win this big game for his club.
Let's take a look at the three reasons why Real Madrid lost the game, and probably might have just lost the title to Barcelona if the latter don't slip up in the coming games.
#3 Significant absentees and incorrect squad rotations by Zidane
The multiple Champions League winning trio of Casemiro-Toni Kroos-Luka Modric has been shockingly quite inefficient this season and this has only emphasized the importance of Federico Valverde in the center of the park for the La Liga giants.
Casemiro is the one who plays deeper in the midfield for Kroos and Modric to go higher up the pitch, but the two advanced play-makers have been far from great in their entire run of performances this season.
Whenever Fede Valverde has been deployed instead of Kroos or Modric in this midfield setup, Madrid have been exceptionally great even against the odds. Zidane might have just got it wrong by rotating the squad to bring in Kroos for Valverde after last weekend's El Clasico.
As Real Madrid do not have a perfect replacement for Carvajal in the right back position, Eder Militao was chosen to fill in his boots on the right side of defence, but it didn't go very well for Zidane as Betis exploited the game through the left flank very often.
Isco has been brilliant for Madrid this season creating a link between the midfield and the strikers for the team, and his absence meant that this linkage was never created throughout the entire ninety minutes last night.
Overall, this was not the best team which could do their job away from home against a relentless Real Betis.
#2 Shambolic passing and lack of control in the midfield
Both the Betis goals came from Real Madrid either losing the ball in their half or by reckless passing out of defense, and that was the story of the game last night.
Coming strong into the game after beating Barcelona 2-0 last weekend, Madrid were expected to see this game off easily but there was always a margin of uncertainty because the opposition was a strong one at home.
The uncertainty came to life as Betis controlled the game right from the kick-off whistle till the dying moments in the game to an extent where they seemed more likely to score a third one instead of Madrid equalizing.
In the absence of Fede Valverde, Toni Kroos and Casemiro failed to control the game and this made the attackers impatient while simultaneously keeping the defense under pressure.
Though Los Blancos had more possession in the game, they were far from controlling the game and Betis countered on every opportunity when the Madrid midfield lost the ball in the center of the field.
Also, no one in Real Madrid was particularly sharp with their passing, which resulted in a lack of composure in the midfield and also the Betis winner late in the game.
#1 Zidane's wayward tactics and lack of game-plan
In a comedy of errors for Real Madrid last night, the focus was mostly on the team not being able to handle the Betis side's counter-attacks, but a lot could also be blamed on their poor quality of offensive display.
It was clear that Madrid were in trouble as their tactics for the entire first half were just to get the crosses to find a sprinting Sergio Ramos into the penalty area. This proved that the Galacticos were out of options while attacking the opposition.
Coming to the left flank, Marcelo and Vinicius hardly disturbed the opposition players and on the contrary, Betis seemed to press higher on the pitch to suffocate the two Brazilians.
The front three, especially Benzema, were poor in transition and failed to create meaningful chances despite Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius switching flanks repeatedly during the game.
Karim Benzema could have done a lot better than what he did last night and it was evident as Toni Kroos' 69th minute replacement, Mariano Diaz had more shots in his twenty minutes than the French striker had in the entire game.
It will be a great lesson for Zinedine Zidane about having multiple game-plans in place during a game, even against a weaker opposition, if he wants to win the coveted La Liga with his squad.Published 09 Mar 2020, 11:26 IST