A 94th minute winning goal by Antonio Sanabria compounded Real Madrid’s miserable start to the La Liga season on Wednesday night, as Los Blancos slipped seven points adrift of Barcelona at the top of the table.
It was a defeat that could have been prevented given Zinedine Zidane’s men created a bucket a load of chances in the match, but at the end of the day, Real’s record of scoring in 73 consecutive matches went up in smoke.
The loss meant Real have failed to win any of their opening three league contests at the Bernabeu for the first time since 1995.
While it is still early days in the season for the, let’s not forget, reigning La Liga holders and back-to-back Champions League winners – questions are still being asked.
Here, we look at three stars who are already under pressure following below-par performances this term.
The experienced vice-captain, like his club, has endured a tough start to the campaign. Following his red card against Levante for kicking out at defender Jefferson Lerma earlier this month in Real’s last home league outing, the usually brilliant Brazilian sustained a muscle injury against Betis.
It meant the full-back departed after 72 minutes and it looks more than likely he will miss the trip to Alaves this Saturday as well as Tuesday’s huge Champions League clash against Borussia Dortmund.
While disciplinary issues and injury have interrupted the flow to Marcelo’s season so far, he hasn’t looked as effective going forward from left-back – registering only one assist, one fruitful attacking dribble and no real key contributions in the final third, of which we have become accustomed to.
This form has led to some boo-boys from the Los Blancos faithful, especially given the fact he recently penned a new contract extension until 2022.
He has generally struggled to reach the level he enjoyed last term – but given his seniority in the side, proven track record and the fact Zidane hasn’t got many other options in that area of the pitch (Theo Hernandez is currently on the injury table), Real will be hoping he will recover quickly.
While injury meant he missed the ugly defeat to Betis – the jury is still out on the Frenchman, but it seems like it has forever been that way.
The 29-year-old, who has 181 goals to his name in a Los Blancos jersey, earlier this week signalled his intention to see out his career at the Bernabeu by penning a lucrative contract extension until 2021 – which is inclusive of a €1 billion release clause.
While Madrid are committed to the striker who is currently nursing a hamstring injury, pundits and fans alike have picked apart Benzema’s productivity in the box which has seen him score just once this term.
That goal came against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup but he has failed to register a shot on goal in three La Liga outings (208 minutes of football).
When Real have needed him in the absence of Cristiano Ronaldo, he has simply failed to fill that void despite looking more productive outside of the penalty area.
The combative Real star has been a regular fixture this term and has operated in several positions including centre-back, defensive midfield and as an out-and-out central player.
It is testament to the Brazilian that he can switch roles but it has meant we have not seen the same kind of form from the 25-year-old that he enjoyed in the previous season.
Casemiro called for calm following the Betis shocker – and perhaps he is right – himself, under performing team-mates and Real need more time to get things together again.
Antonio Sanabria’s 94th minute winner stunned the Bernabeu as Real Betis shocked Real Madrid on their own patch.
The 21-year-old’s last-gasp headed goal from an incisive team passing move was a tough one to take for Zinedine Zidane’s side, who had dominated the game for large spells.
Indeed, the reigning La Liga champions – who are now seven points adrift of Barcelona at the top of the table – will be wondering how they didn’t score having registered 27 attempts at goal.
Here, we look at the key numbers in wake of another disappointing result on home territory for the Spanish giants.
Failure to score on Wednesday night meant the Whites’ all-time Spanish record of scoring in 73 successive matches came to an end. A quite incredible run.
You have to go back to April 2016 to find the last time when Real drew a blank in front of goal. Manchester City were the side to keep them at bay during a 0-0 draw in the first-leg of their Champions League semi-final clash at the Etihad Stadium.
During the 73-game run, Real scored 200 goals and won 54 matches – and in the process – scooped a La Liga title and two Champions League crowns, among other trophies.
Real Madrid have yet to win any of their opening three La Liga home matches – with defeat to Betis compounding more misery following lacklustre draws against Valencia and Levante.
It is their worst run of form since April 2011 – where they also had the same sequence of results for three consecutive outings in their own backyard.
Making his first La Liga appearance of the season following the five-match domestic ban he attained for shoving a referee in the first-leg of Real’s Spanish Super Cup win against Barcelona back in August, there was a real buzz to see Cristiano Ronaldo’s name on the teamsheet again.
But it didn’t turn into the evening he would have wanted.
The club legend had 12 shots on goal throughout, with only two of them hitting the target. It was a frustrating night and he has a lot of catching up to do if he is to chase down Lionel Messi’s goal haul so far this term – the Argentine has nine to his name.
Trips to the Bernabeu haven’t been fruitful for Real Betis down the years but the team from Seville turned the tables this week – winning their first match at the famous stadium in 19 years.
Few expected the Green and Whites to come away with victory – bringing back memories of the last time they did just that in October 1998, when Finidi George netted the winner in another 1-0 triumph.
You have to trawl through the archives to find the first time Real failed to win in each of their opening three league games at home – that came during the 1969-70 season.
Since then, it has only happened twice again in the club’s history. Aside from Wednesday, the second instance it occurred was way back in the 1995-96 campaign.
So, you could say Madrid made it a hat-trick of sorts this week.
Real Madrid’s lowly points total in La Liga this season is less than Messi’s total in the league – 9.
To rub salt into the wounds, many Barcelona fans were happy to tell all about this stat as Madrid went down to a sucker punch of a late goal.
While the pressure on Zidane may have gone up a few notches, perspective is needed once again.
The French maestro has still only lost just eight times in the 96 matches he has been in charge – which is the lowest defeat percentage (8.3%) of any manager in the history of the Whites.
That’s well below recent bosses Jose Mourinho (13.4%) and Carloe Ancelotti (14.6%).
Since joining as manager in January 2016, Zidane has also delivered seven trophies – including back-to-back European Cups.
Karim Benzema became the latest Real Madrid star to sign a new bumper four-year contract with the European Champions to 2021, the club announced on Wednesday.
“Real Madrid and Benzema have agreed to extend the contract of the player, who will remain tied to the club until June 30, 2021,” Madrid said in a statement.
Vice-captain Marcelo, Isco and Dani Carvajal all extended to 2022 over the past week as Real reward key members of the squad that became the first side to retain the Champions League trophy in June.
— #UCL (@ChampionsLeague) September 20, 2017