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Real Betis 2-3 Real Madrid: 5 talking points as VAR takes centre stage in the reigning champions' first win of the season | LaLiga 2020-21

Real Madrid secured a 3-2 win over Real Betis on Saturday
Real Madrid secured a 3-2 win over Real Betis on Saturday
Anany Sachar
Modified 27 Sep 2020, 18:58 IST

It was certainly an eventful evening as Real Madrid and Real Betis battled it out at the Estadio Villamarin on a humid night in Seville.

Real Madrid started the game brightly and controlled the opening exchanges, with all their pressure paying off in the 14th minute as Karim Benzema made a fool of Alex Moreno thrice before finding Fede Valverde to open the visitors' account for the season.

The next move of the game saw Sergio Ramos miss a chance he could've scored with a blindfold last season and with that, Real Betis saw a chink in Real Madrid's armour.

Aissa Mandi
Aissa Mandi's goal gave Betis a temporary boost and left the Real Madrid defence looking quite foolish

The game was still being dominated by Real Madrid in terms of possession but Real Betis were starting to press them just a little bit harder and finding more time in the away team's half.

At the 35th minute, Sergio Canales whipped in a truly beautiful pass towards the back post of Thibaut Courtois, where Aissa Mandi was ready to hammer it past the Belgian to draw the home side level.

With the defence shell shocked, Real Betis kept pushing and found the back of the net again two minutes later, with William Carvalho hammering home at Courtois' near post. Nabil Fekir was the architect this time, finding space after beating Carvajal on the flank and stabbing it in the path of the Portuguese enforcer.

Zinedine Zidane was quick to jump in to intervene before the team imploded, asking several players to warm up in a bid to make early substitutions, unlike the previous game. His first change though seemed to have been a forced one, with Luka Modric coming on as Toni Kroos departed clutching his hamstring in what could be a worrying thing for the champions in the coming weeks.

In the second half, Real Madrid completely shut out Real Betis, with the home side only having one shot on goal - a tame effort easily parried away by Courtois late on in the game.

Real Madrid though took charge from minute one, with Carvajal forcing Emerson into slotting it into his own net as his night started to get worse after being booked earlier for fouling Casemiro in the first half.


Karim Benzema hit the woodwork with a really good effort but was unfortunate not to score there. He later released Jovic into space around minute 65 where he was brought right at the edge of the box, which resulted in a sending off for him and a free-kick just at the edge of the box for Madrid. It was fizzed just outside the post by Ramos in a pretty decent effort from the veteran centre-half.

He was later on hand to dink home to give Real Madrid the lead through a penalty as Borja Mayoral was adjudged to have been fouled by Marc Bartra in the box in a decision that seems quite unclear even after several viewings.

Here are five talking points from the Real Betis vs Real Madrid La Liga game:

#1 The impact of VAR

VAR was once again a major talking point from the Real Betis Balompie v Real Madrid clash
VAR was once again a major talking point from the Real Betis Balompie v Real Madrid clash

This is a highly-debated topic across the world of football. There are several people who champion the cause of VAR and stand by it vehemently, understanding how it is helping officials make decisions that they would normally miss out on.


There are also those who criticise VAR heavily as it seems too inconsistent in its decision-making. There is still a lack of understanding among the general public as to when exactly VAR can intervene in a game.

Saturday's game was not short on VAR drama as the referee took an on-field review twice in the second half, with decisions going in the favour of the reigning champions both times.

The first incident was a foul on Luka Jovic by Emerson which was pretty clear cut but VAR was needed to decide whether the event took place inside or outside the penalty area. This was a fair call, and the game certainly changed because of it as Emerson was sent off on a straight red for his foul.

The second call was the real kicker though. It looked as though Marc Bartra fell while holding off Mayoral in his own box and after several replays, he seemed to have handled the ball. However, there was minimal contact with Mayoral, who himself did not appeal for anything but the referee had a word in his ear and stopped the play for another on-field review, after which he booked Marc Bartra and gave Real Madrid the match-winning penalty.

#2 Luka Jovic fails to prove himself in a Real Madrid shirt again

Luka Jovic has cut a disgruntled figure during his stay at Real Madrid
Luka Jovic has cut a disgruntled figure during his stay at Real Madrid

Luka Jovic looked like a man possessed in his first season at Frankfurt, scoring goals left, right and centre and taking the German outfit to the Europa League semi-finals.

It wasn't long before Real Madrid signed the Serbian. However, the 22-year-old scored two goals in the previous campaign and has had rumours linking him with a loan move to join fellow youngster, Brahim Diaz, in Milan.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane does not seem to fancy him at all, and there have been a lot of questions about the players' professionalism during his stay at arguably the greatest football club in the world. He failed to make the most of his chances against Real Betis, not even accumulating double digits of successful passes in the final third.

A move away to reinvigorate his career seems like the best move for all parties involved, with Zidane having Borja Mayoral and Mariano also available in the squad as striker options.

Working with Zlatan Ibrahimovic could only be helpful for a young striker like Jovic and if the rumours are indeed true, he must grab this chance and move to Italy to try and start afresh so that he can break into the Real Madrid side one day.

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Published 27 Sep 2020, 11:36 IST
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