Real Madrid ended Betis' excellent start

Real Madrid ended Betis’ excellent start

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Vinicius Jr. and Rodrigo helped Real Madrid end Real Betis’ perfect start to the Spanish league in a 2-1 win for the defending champions on Saturday.

The young Brazilian forwards were crucial to Madrid winning their record 14th European Cup last season, and again proved the difference in the first month of the meeting between the two best Spanish teams.

Madrid extended their league lead after winning all four of their matches. Betis, who had been good in their first three matches, were three points behind in second place. Barcelona were five points behind in third place before visiting Sevilla later.

Carlo Ancelotti moved into third place on the list of Madrid coaches with most career wins. With 133 victories, he is behind only Miguel Munoz (357) and Zinedine Zidane (172).

Before kick-off, the Madrid players presented the Champions League trophy and recently the UEFA Super Cup to their fans in their first home game of the season. The club played the first three rounds on the road as it continues renovation work at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

“This is just the beginning and (the gains) are thanks to our hard work,” Rodrigo said. “We’ve gone three games and now we’re coming home to win with our fans against a team that’s very difficult for me. Let’s keep this streak going.”

Betis has not lost in five seasons in Madrid, winning two and drawing three while not conceding a goal at the powerhouse.

Vincenzo broke that odd goal drought against the Seville-based side in the ninth minute when he latched on to David Alaba’s long ball which cleared Betis’ tall backline. He ended the move by chipping the ball past goalkeeper Rui Silva.

Moments later, Betis suffered a second blow when Nabil Fekir, one of Manuel Pellegrini’s leading players, was replaced by Luis Henrique, apparently injured.

Sergio Canales equalized for Betis in the 17th when the midfielder converted from brilliant strikes by Alex Moreno and Borja Iglesias. Iglesias, who leads Betis with four goals, beat Mourinho’s goal back to Canales to score from an angle.

It was all Madrid the rest of the way, however, as scoring chances came in succession for the hosts as Betis failed to mount another threat on Thibaut Courtois’ goal.

Venice missed a chance to put his side ahead seconds after Canales’ goal when he flicked a pass from Rodrigo over the bar that he only needed to beat into the path of Silva. Silva was in fine form when he dove for a powerful title shot by Orleans Chuamani.

But Rodrigo reversed Madrid’s dominance with a second goal in the 65th when Silva failed to keep out his brilliant redirection from Federico Valverde’s substitute pass in the heart of the box.

Madrid begin their European title defense against Celtic in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Scoring first

Sadiq Omar scored within five minutes of his debut for Real Sociedad as Atletico Madrid drew 1-1.

Sadiq came on at half-time and soon showed his ability in the area when he jumped off his marker on a cross by new partner Muhammad Ali Chou. Sadiq almost scored another goal but it was missed due to offside.

Alvaro Morata opened the scoring when he deflected off the post from Yannick Carrasco’s corner kick. It was his third goal since returning from a season-long loan at Juventus.

Sociedad paid an Almería club-record €20 million ($19.9 million) for Sadiq to replace Aleksandar Isak, who joined Newcastle in a record €70 million ($69 million) sale for Sociedad.

Atletico obviously lost goalkeeper Jan Oblak in the final minutes.

Elsewhere, Girona’s Samuel Sanz converted a stoppage-time penalty in Mallorca’s 1-1 draw.

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