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regular-article-logo Friday, 21 June 2024

La Liga: Ancelotti ‘upset’ with Real Madrid setback

Barcelona are on top with 62 points, nine clear of second-placed Madrid who have now had consecutive draws

Reuters Sevilla Published 07.03.23, 06:00 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File picture

Real Madrid ended a difficult week with a frustrating 0-0 draw at Real Betis on Sunday that did little to enhance their prospects of catching Barcelona in the La Liga title race.

After losing 1-0 at home to Barca in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final on Thursday, Madrid dominated against Betis but missed several opportunities.

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Barcelona are on top with 62 points, nine clear of second-placed Madrid who have now had consecutive draws. Betis are fifth with 41 points, three points off the Champions League places.

Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti raised concerns over the team’s lack of urgency in front of the goal.

Since thrashing Liverpool 5-2 in the first leg of their Champions League 16 tie, Real have scored only once in their following three matches in all competitions.

They are also without a win since beating Liverpool, having drawn 1-1 with Atletico Madrid in the league and losing 1-0 to Barcelona in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

“I’m upset more than angry. It’s strange we’re not scoring,” Ancelotti told reporters. “It’s not normal that a team with this much quality didn’t score more than one goal in the last three games. It does upset me, a lot.

“The players are also disappointed because we’ve got the quality to score and we’ve always done it. I think our attack is a problem right now. We need to be more clinical and deliver more.”

Madrid defender Lucas Vazque z told Movistar Plus: “We will keep fighting. It’s still March and there is a lot to be played.

“We made enough to deserve something more. We were not on target in the last stretch, we are not happy with the result.

“I urge the fans to keep trusting in us. We will fight until the end for the three titles we are competing in.”

It was a lively match at Seville that needed a goal with Madrid dominating the proceedings but an often dangerous Betis constantly threatening Thibaut Courtois’ goal.

Karim Benzema’s effort from a free-kick was ruled out in the 12th minute as the ball deflected off Madrid defender Antonio Ruediger’s hand before going in.

The visitors kept pushing and Federico Valverde almost scored but his thunderous strike flew just above the bar.

The tension and intensity grew in the second half, with Madrid going all out to get a win and Betis having chances of their own to shock the La Liga and Champions League holders.

Betis’ Claudio Bravo made a brilliant save from a Benzema strike to deny Madrid an opener right after the break and Courtois performed his own miracle to deny Borja Iglesias from point-blank range with a one-handed save.

Rodrygo then wasted two great opportunities when he passed to Benzema instead of finishing and then missed an absolute sitter from close range after a Valverde cross.

Substitute Dani Ceballos also spurned a chance and Bravo kept out close-range shots by Nacho and Benzema.

Real host Espanyol in the league on Saturday.

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