Published: Mon, February 19, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Real Betis vs Real Madrid

Real Betis vs Real Madrid

Kroos is expected to miss this weekend's fixture against Real Betis, with Mateo Kovacic set to take the German's place, but manager Zinedine Zidane will want him back for the return leg, when PSG visit to the Santiago Bernabeu on 6 March.

However, Aissa Mandi scored just after the half hour mark to level before a Nacho own goal put the home side ahead just four minutes later.

Despite possessing a fraction of the natural talent within the French team's ranks, Betis set about their task with poise and objective, especially during a glorious 20-minute period at the end of the first half which yielded their first two goals. But then Benzema came off the bench to score a well-taken late goal and further muddy Zidane's selection waters, especially as Gareth Bale delivered another poor performance.

Asensio, who joined from Mallorca in 2014 for 3.5 million euros, had a barnstorming start to the season but faded out of contention when Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema returned from suspension and injury problems.

After masterminding a 3-1 win over the French giants, Zidane who led the club to eight major titles in just two years admits his time is not over yet.

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Real now lie in fourth place, trailing leaders Barcelona by 17 points with a game in hand.

Asked if he had decided what he will do at the end of the season, Zidane said in quotes reported by the Spanish media: "For me the most important thing is what I'm doing now, the day to day". He could be the catalyst for a much stronger second half of the season. It was no more than Betis deserved after recovering impressively from the disappointment of Asensio's early goal. But Asensio was on the rebound in a flash and heads home into the empty net!

The pressure eventually told as Dani Carvajal raced down the right and crossed for Asensio to side-foot home.

Real Madrid then suffered a blow when left-back Marcelo pulled up with an injury and had to be substituted. Ronaldo fires a shot at goal, with Adan beating the ball away. Betis, too, are in a good zone, and have beaten Madrid already once this term, but they will find it difficult to stop Zidane's men on Sunday and we at the Hard Tackle, predict a 3-1 triumph for Los Blancos.

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