Real Madrid stay perfect with a 2-1 win over an impressive Real Betis side who drop their first points of the season.
Madrid returned to the Bernabeu for the first time this season, delaying kick off in order to show off the trophies won last season.
They started strongly, but Betis could have had the lead when Nabil Fekir went down in the Madrid box under pressure from Dani Carvajal. He was denied, and, to make things worse, the French midfielder was forced off with injury soon after.
Betis were determined to play their positive, aggressive style, but that gave Madrid a route to goal. The hosts opened the scoring when David Alaba chipped a pass over Betis’ high defensive line for Vinicius to run onto. The Brazilian made it three goals in three games with a dinked finish.
The visitors exploited sleepy Madrid defending with Borja Iglesias flicking on a quick throw for Sergio Canales to equalise against his former club.
From that point, Madrid took control. Benzema, Vinicius, and Rodrygo could all have restored Real’s lead, but the visitors just about held on to resist.
After the break, it was breathless stuff with both sides countering at speed.
Carlo Ancelotti’s introduction of Fede Valverde had an instant impact, with the Uruguayan finding space in the box and setting up Rodrygo for Madrid’s second goal. Betis huffed and puffed, but Madrid kept them at arm’s length, and were a constant threat on the counter-attack.
On another day, Benzema would probably have scored a hat-trick. Madrid held on to their lead to make it four wins from four to start the season.
TALKING POINT – WHO CAN STOP MADRID?
This was a real statement of intent. Not only did Madrid calmly expose the high line of Real Betis time and again, they also won turnovers seemingly at will with an aggressive press.
The Real Madrid machine was on show. The midfield foundation of Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga were like an iron gate in front of the back four. Behind them, Militao and Alaba were terrific.
The Brazilians on the wings were constant threats, and Modric pulled the strings as he always has.
Betis played well, but Madrid could easily have scored five.
On this form, the incumbent champions are going to be incredibly hard to stop.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Eder Militao was sensational against Real Betis. The defender made two successful tackles, won two aerial duels and made three blocks, but the statistics don’t capture his impact.
Militao battled brilliantly with Betis’ physical centre forward Borja Iglesias, and allowed centre back partner David Alaba to concentrate on his role.
His intelligence was also on display in an attacking sense. More than once, when Madrid’s full-backs were out of position, Militao raced to take up a wide position and ensure the midfield still had passing options.
Real Madrid: Courtois 6, Carvajal 5, Militao 8, Alaba 7, Mendy 6, Modric 7, Camavinga 7, Tchouameni 8, Vinicius 8, Rodrygo 7, Benzema 5 Subs: Kroos 6, Valverde 7, Ceballos 6, Rudiger N/A
Real Betis: Silva 8, Sabaly 7, Felipe 6, Edgar 5, Moreno 6, Rodriguez 6, Guardado 6, Canales 7, Juanmi 6, Fekir 5, Iglesias 7 Subs: Henrique 6, Jose N/A, Ruibal N/A, Joaquin 7
6’ BETIS WANT A PENALTY
Nabil Fekir dribbles into the box with Dani Carvajal on his heels. Fekir goes down, but the referee waves play on.
9’ GOAL – REAL MADRID
A simple ball over the top from Alaba allows Vinicius to race through on goal. Silva charges out of his goal, but the Brazilian lifts his shot over the keeper to break the deadlock.
17’ GOAL – REAL BETIS
Betis take a quick throw, direct to Borja who flicks it into the path of Sergio Canales. The former Madrid midfielder refuses to celebrate.
61’ DIVING BLOCK BY MILITAO
Brilliant play from Canales puts Iglesias into space on the edge of the Madrid box. The striker lines up his shot, but Militao slides in out of nowhere to block the shot brilliantly.
64’ GOAL – REAL MADRID
Valverde finds space in the box seconds after coming on and he slips a pass into the path of Rodrygo who finishes smartly.
88’ BENZEMA UNLUCKY
Madrid turn the ball over high up the pitch and Vinicius slips the ball to Benzema in the box, but the Frenchman is caught flat-footed and can’t react quickly enough.