Real Madrid took their Champions League form into La Liga with an epic 5-3 away win over Betis. It was classic Madrid for better and worse.
They were shaky at the back and fell behind in the first half but came roaring back with two goals from Marco Asensio and one each from Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.
Madrid have now scored 13 goals in their last three games. Ronaldo has now scored 10 goals in his last six games. As for Asensio, he is now Real Madrid’s second top scorer despite being overlooked for a starting berth for most of the season. The finish for his second of the game was a thing of beauty and an historic liga goal number 6000 for the club.
Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio celebrates scoring their first goal of the game against Real Betis on Sunday night
Cristiano Ronaldo reacts after Asensio scores their first goal in the 11th minute but they went into the break losing 2-1
Asensio celebrates scoring their first goal with team-mates as Real Madrid picked up where they left off against PSG
Asensio celebrates scoring their first goal with Ronaldo (centre) Gareth Bale (left) and Sergio Ramos (right) on Sunday
It was not all good news for Zinedine Zidane. Marcelo hobbled off with a hamstring injury in the first half and will now surely miss the trip to Paris in 15 days.
He was their man-of-the-match in the first leg against PSG and his injury comes just days after Toni Kroos confirmed he has a knee problem that could also rule him out.
Madrid took the lead on 11 minutes when home keeper Antonio Adan could not hold Ronaldo’s shot and Asensio headed in the rebound.
Buoyed by the noisy Villarmarin stadium Betis kept pouring forward and they were level on 34 minutes when Aissa Mandi outjumped Casemiro to head in Joaquin’s cross.
Real Betis’ striker Loren Moron (centre) in action against Real Madrid players Sergio Ramos (right) and Lucas Vazquez (left)
Moron reacts after missing a chance for Betis during the La Liga match but they weren’t behind for long as they scored two
Real Madrid’s Keylor Navas pulls off an outstanding save to deny Real Betis’ Joaquin from scoring a free-kick in the first half
Joaquin, who was in the Betis first team 13 years ago the last time they were a force to be reckoned with playing Chelsea in the Champions League, has found a new lease of life back at his boyhood club.
Betis coach Quique Setien has him floating freely in a central role behind the striker and from there he released Junior Firpo three minutes later. The young wing-back looked to freeze slightly as he honed in on goal. But he got enough on his shot and when Keylor Navas half blocked it the ball cannoned over the line off of Nacho.
Madrid were level six minutes into the second half when Sergio Ramos powered a header just under Adan’s bar from Lucas Vazquez’ precise corner. Ramos was then booked for chopping down Loren as he spun away from him on the half way line.
Gareth Bale had been back in the starting line-up but had been quiet in the first half. Ten minutes into the second half he almost put Real Madrid ahead twice. His first effort was saved by Adan. And so was his second shot but the referee failed to spot that the keeper had got a glove on the shot, and Bale was booked for protesting when no corner was given.
Real Madrid’s Marcelo walks off dejected as he is substituted after sustaining an injury during the clash away to Real Betis
Real Betis’ Spanish coach Quique Setien (right) speaks with Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane before the match
The third Madrid goal came on 59 minutes. Dani Carvajal burst down the right past two flying Betis tackles and crossed to Asensio on the edge of the six-yard box. He shifted his feet, opened his body, and passed the ball into the net with his left foot.
It was Real Madrid’s 6,000 goal in La Liga history. Things like that matter to a club that puts a great stock in milestones and records. Asensio will reach and break plenty more at this club.
Real Betis’ Junior celebrates after Real Madrid’s Nacho scores an own goal and the second for Betis on Sunday night
Real Betis’ players celebrate after scoring against Real Madrid during a tight match between the two sides on Sunday night
The Real Betis players celebrate together after Real Madrid’s Nacho scores an own goal to put them ahead before half-time
Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring the equaliser for Real Madrid within five minutes of the restart during the La Liga match
Asensio of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal of the game to put them 3-2 up against Real Betis
Asensio celebrates scoring his second goal of the game to put Zidane’s side in front in the second half of the game
Ronaldo added a fourth cutting in from the left and whipping a right foot shot past the flapping Adan.
Betis pulled a goal back five minutes from time when Sergio Leon turned in Junior’s cross. But substitute Benzema swapped passed with Lucas Vazquez to score the fifth.
Real Madrid stay 17 points behind leaders Barcelona but their supporters no longer care about that. All that matters is the Champions League and on this sort of attacking form they believe they can finish the job in Paris and go fearlessly into the quarter-finals.
Ronaldo scoring his Real Madrid’s fourth goal during the La Liga match which ended 5-3 to Zidane’s side on Sunday night
Ronaldo celebrates scoring their fourth goal with Casemiro and team-mates to put daylight between the two sides
Real Betis’ Sergio Leon celebrates scoring their third goal to set up a nervous finale for Real Madrid on Sunday night
Substitute Leon celebrates scoring their third goal but three home goals weren’t enough for Betis to secure the three points