Real Betis – Real Madrid: An Entertaining Sunday Night Stalemate (0-0)
For a goalless draw, this was a relatively entertaining game. Betis will likely be content with a point, but Madrid will be left to rue not only their missed chances to score but also the missed opportunity to reduce the points gap at the top of LaLiga.
Tactical analysis and match report by Nick Smoothy.
This LaLiga fixture at the Estadio Benito Villamarín involved two teams in the chase for their respective league targets.
Real Betis started the match in fifth position, four points behind Real Sociedad, the current occupiers of the final Champions League qualification spot. The home side were in good form though, having won their previous three league fixtures. The hosts did suffer a blow in their previous match, however, with an injury to Nabil Fekir ruling him out for the remainder of the season.
Real Madrid, on the other hand, were second in the league, ten points behind leaders Barcelona, who had won earlier in the day. The visitors missed an opportunity to reduce the points gap against the ten-men of Atlético Madrid in the previous gameweek so, as Carlo Ancelotti put it ahead of the game: "...there's no room for error."
In addition to replacing Fekir, Manuel Pellegrini made a further four changes to the side which beat Elche the previous Friday evening. Claudio Bravo played in goal behind a back four of Youssouf Sabaly, Germán Pezzella, Luiz Felipe and Juan Miranda. Guido Rodríguez and William Carvalho played as a double pivot behind Aitor Ruibal, Rodri Sánchez and Ayoze Pérez, with Borja Iglesias up top.
Ancelotti made three changes to the side which lost to Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, with . . .