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PICS: Real Madrid beat Betis as VAR takes centre stage

Last updated on: September 27, 2020 10:45 IST
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Images from Saturday's La Liga action.

Sergio Ramos celebrates with teammates after scoring from the penalty spot to clinch victory for Real Madrid in their La Liga match against Real Betis

IMAGE: Sergio Ramos celebrates with teammates after scoring from the penalty spot to clinch victory for Real Madrid in their La Liga match against Real Betis at Estadio Benito Villamarin, in Seville, on Saturday. Photograph: Marcelo Del Pozo/Reuters

Real Madrid edged Real Betis 3-2 in an eventful game for their first win of the Liga season on Saturday, thanks to a late Sergio Ramos penalty that was furiously protested by the hosts.

 

Madrid captain Ramos again showed nerves of steel to chip the ball into the net from the spot after a VAR review for a handball by defender Marc Bartra, who appeared to have been pushed by visiting forward Borja Mayoral.

Earlier in the second half, Betis defender Emerson was shown a straight red card for a foul on Luka Jovic following a VAR review, while Madrid's equaliser, given as an own goal by Emerson, was awarded after another VAR intervention ruled that Karim Benzema had been onside in the build-up.

Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde had given the champions a 14th minute lead with a close-range finish after fine work by Benzema on the byline.

But Betis struck twice in quick succession through Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho to take a 2-1 halftime lead.

William Carvalho celebrates with teammates after scoring Real Betis's second goal.

IMAGE: William Carvalho celebrates with teammates after scoring Real Betis's second goal. Photograph: Marcelo Del Pozo/Reuters

After drawing their first game of the season 0-0 at Real Sociedad, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane ripped up his usual 4-3-3 formation for a 4-4-2 and handed a rare start to 60-million euro ($69.78 million) striker Luka Jovic, who partnered Benzema.

The Serbian offered little in attack during the game but still played a decisive role in the win, drawing the foul from Emerson which saw the Brazilian sent off in the 68th minute.

Madrid's run to last season's title was aided by a series of refereeing decisions going their way, but Ramos did not think his side were receiving special treatment.

"Sometimes the referee goes against us, other times the decisions are in our favour, but I don't think it's intentional at all," said the defender, who finished last season with a career-best 11 goals.

Ramos also said his side needed to be more consistent.

"It was a difficult game but this is what makes football special. We played well in the first 15 minutes then we gifted them the ball and a team like Betis who know how to play well will always create chances and score against you," he added.

"We have to learn from today because we're not always going to be able to react like we did. But today we got away with it as we had an excellent second half."

Real Sociedad cruise, uninspiring Valencia held by Huesca

Dimitris Siovas scores for Huesca during the La Liga Santader match against Valencia, at Estadio Mestalla, in Valencia

IMAGE: Dimitris Siovas scores for Huesca during the La Liga Santader match against Valencia, at Estadio Mestalla, in Valencia. Photograph: David Ramos/Getty Images

Real Sociedad eased to a 3-0 win away to Elche in La Liga on Saturday, with Mikel Merino pulling the strings in their first victory of the season.

Sociedad were dominant against an Elche side playing their first top-flight game for five years. But they only broke the deadlock in the 56th minute when Spain international Merino produced a sumptuous threaded pass to Portu, who fired into the far corner from a tight angle.

They extended their lead in the 77th when Adnan Januzaj scored from the spot after winning a penalty, and Roberto Lopez adorned a stylish win by blasting into the top corner in added time after another defence-splitting pass from Merino.

Sociedad, who drew their first two matches against Real Valladolid and Real Madrid respectively, have five points.

Elsewhere, Valencia's early season troubles continued as they could only draw 1-1 at home to promoted Huesca.

Daniel Wass gave Javi Gracia's men the lead against the run of play shortly before halftime when his free kick from way out, meant as a cross, went straight into the far corner of the net, evading the touch of defenders and attackers alike.

Huesca, who had been playing the more intelligent and imaginative football, kept their composure and continued to test goalkeeper Jaume Domenech and finally beat him with a looping header from Greek defender Dimitris Siovas in the 63rd.

Valencia, who were beaten 2-1 at Celta Vigo last week and parted with several key players over the summer, have four points from their opening three games while Huesca have two.

Meanwhile, Alaves picked up their first point of the campaign after a goalless draw at home to Getafe.

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IPL 2020

IPL 2020