Real Madrid missed the chance to return to the top of La Liga as they were held to a goalless draw at home by Real Betis.
Zinedine Zidane picked a strong team despite the Champions League semi final first leg against Chelsea on the horizon with Eden Hazard on the bench following a period out through injury.
Real Betis dominated much of the possession in the first half, but failed to create many scoring opportunities as Real Madrid also struggled in the attacking third with Karim Benzema isolated.
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Rodrygo struck the crossbar with a mishit cross before Vinicius Junior was introduced with half an hour left to play. It was Betis, however, that cranked up the pressure with Guido Rodriguez and Borja Iglesias both passing up good chances.
Hazard made his return from injury with just over 10 minutes remaining, but there was to be no breakthrough as Real Madrid were held at home, leaving them two points off Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga.

TALKING POINT - Should Zinedine Zidane have introduced Eden Hazard sooner?

Hazard made his return to the Real Madrid matchday squad here and made a positive impact after coming off the bench in the second half. Indeed, the home side played with more energy and intensity with the Belgian on the pitch. So did Zidane make a mistake in not introducing Hazard sooner when his team were searching for a late winner? Hindsight suggests the former Chelsea man should have been given more time to make his mark on a match that required someone to take a grip.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Claudio Bravo (Real Betis)

While Real Madrid didn’t create many clearcut opportunities, Claudio Bravo dealt with everything that came his way. More than that, though, the former Manchester City goalkeeper was key to the way Real Betis sought to hit out on the counter attack from the back. Indeed, Bravo released his teammates up the pitch more than once, bypassing the midfield to feed the ball to the likes of Sergio Canales and Diego Lainez. On another night he might have ended up with an assist!

PLAYER RATINGS

Real Madrid - Courtois 6, Carvajal 6, Varane 5, Militao 6, Nacho 5, Modric 5, Casemiro 5, Isco 4, Rodrygo 5, Benzema 5, Asensio 4. Subs - Hazard 7, Marcelo 5, Blanco 5, Vinicius 5, Odriozola 5.
Real Betis - Bravo 8, Emerson 7, Mandi 8, Ruiz 6, Miranda 6, Rodriguez 5, Guardado 6, Joaquin 5, Canales 6, Lainez 6, Iglesias 7. Subs - Juanmi 4, Carvalho 3, Ruibal 5, Moron 4.

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KEY MOMENTS

25’ Rodrygo shot blocked! Benzema feeds the Brazilian inside the box, but his shot is blocked. The ball then gets recycled back to Benzema and his effort is saved at the near post by Bravo.
56’ Off the crossbar! That's the closest we have come to a goal with Rodrygo striking the woodwork with a mis-hit cross into the box! Bravo was beaten! Inches away from a freak opener!
63’ Big chance for Betis! Rodriguez burst through three Real Madrid players, with Militao pulling out of a tackle, but the Argentine forward could only shoot straight at Courtois from 16 yards out!
66’ One-on-one opportunity! Iglesias controls a pass after good work by Lainez, he was one-on-one with Courtois, but he couldn't prod the ball past the goalkeeper and Carvajal mops up!

KEY STATS

Only Paris Saint-Germain (22) have hit the woodwork more times than Real Madrid (20) in Europe’s top five leagues this season.
Thibaut Courtois has saved 19 of the last 20 shots on target he has faced for Real Madrid in La Liga.
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