Real Madrid missed an opportunity to claim top spot in La Liga after being held to a 0-0 draw against Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.
Los Blancos could’ve leapfrogged Barcelona after they lost to Levante earlier in the day, but a draw means both giants could be surpassed by Granada if they beat Real Sociedad today.
It’s the first time Madrid have been kept scoreless at home since Zinedine Zidane began his second spell as manager, while they’ve now failed to score past Betis on their own turf three times in a row.
More alarmingly, the capital-based club haven't found the net in three of their last five games in La Liga.
It certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying versus Betis, though.
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Madrid registered 22 shots, albeit only seven on target, while enjoying 63 per cent of possession against their lower-mid-table opponents.
Reflecting on what was a frustrating evening, Zidane was more interested in paying credit to his opponents than blasting his squad.
“They defended very well. We won’t score five goals every day,” the Frenchman said after the match, per Goal.
“We have had chances. The goal is the only thing that we have lacked.
“Betis are a good team, with very good players. In the first half, we were superior in everything. We missed the goal, and then in the second, it was more balanced.
“They are a rival with quality but it is a shame (to end in a) draw.
“At the level of play, intensity and attitude, everything has been perfect,” he added.
“We have failed to put it [in the back of the net]. You cannot reproach anyone. We have tried until the end.”
Eden Hazard came closest to breaking the deadlock - in fact, he and roughly 70,000 Madrid fans thought he had done so in the eighth minute.
The Belgian was released in behind the defence, high up the pitch on the left side, before hurdling a sliding challenge and swivelling his hips to create enough space to unleash a low drive into the far corner.
It was a brilliant solo goal, but one that was disallowed as VAR adjudged Hazard to be marginally offside.
As you can see, Hazard could only have been an inch or two past the last defender.
While rules are rules, that’s a cruel way to deny him the glory of sending Madrid to the top of La Liga and submitting an early contender for goal of the season.News Now - Sport News