Real Madrid failed to capitalise on Barcelona’s slip-up as Zinedine Zidane’s side were held to a 0-0 draw by Real Betis in LaLiga, with Ferland Mendy missing a glorious chance.
Three goals in the space of seven second-half minutes saw Levante defeat leaders Barca 3-1 earlier on Saturday, but Madrid offered little for much of the encounter at the Santiago Bernabeu as they failed to move above their bitter rivals.
Eden Hazard had an early goal disallowed by VAR, but instead of paving the way for a dominant Madrid display, Los Blancos were found lacking going forward, even if Joel Robles did make a fine save from Sergio Ramos just before the break.
Mendy should have made the breakthrough shortly after the hour, but an abysmal finish from the left-back summed up a frustrating outing for Madrid, who nevertheless moved level on points with Barca, though they trail on goal difference.
Hazard thought he had driven home his second LaLiga goal in the eighth minute, only for VAR to disallow his effort for offside.
Toni Kroos had Robles beaten with a free-kick soon after, though his effort sailed just wide, before Betis finally offered a threat – Nabil Fekir flashing an effort across the face of goal.
Madrid’s opener looked set to come from an unlikely source when Karim Benzema teed up Ramos, but Robles stood his ground to make a fantastic stop, before Thibaut Courtois kept out Loren Moron’s long-range strike at the other end.
A few moments after having a penalty appeal rightly turned down, Mendy raced through on Betis’ goal but failed to keep his composure when one-on-one with Robles, slicing his attempt into the side-netting.
Zouhair Feddal wore a nervous expression when VAR went back to check a potential handball a little later, though Betis’ luck was in – the video system deeming no offence had occurred.
Betis’ defence was breached twice in quick succession in the final minutes, yet Robles again came to their rescue, thwarting Vinicius Junior a couple of times before Feddal hooked clear off the line, with Madrid forced to settle for a point.
What does it mean? LaLiga wide open
Madrid are now without a win over Betis in their last three home league matches against the Andalusian side, who had lost four of their past five LaLiga fixtures heading into Saturday’s encounter.
With Barca going down at Levante and Atletico Madrid only managing to draw with Sevilla, who complete the top four, LaLiga is tight at the top, with no one possessing the consistency to nose themselves clear.
Robles stands firm
Until the closing stages, Betis’ goalkeeper was not called into action as much as he might have expected, but when he was required, Robles stood up to the task, making a fantastic stop from Ramos’ powerful close-range attempt.
While Robles – who claimed to lose a contact lens in a collision with Mendy – may have been unable to prevent Madrid’s left-back opening the scoring had he kept his cool, the goalkeeper came up with the goods twice in quick succession in stoppage time to secure a well-earned point.
Hazard still not hitting his stride
Injuries have contributed to Hazard having a stuttering start to his Madrid career, but the Belgium star looks a shadow of his former self at the moment.
A flash of brilliance was evident when he skipped in from the byline to hammer in a low strike early on, but after VAR had chalked the goal off, Hazard was left on the fringes of Madrid’s play far too often.
Madrid welcome Galatasaray to the Santiago Bernabeu in the Champions League on Wednesday before travelling to Eibar in LaLiga three days later. As for Betis, it is the small matter of the Seville derby next Sunday.
beIN SPORTS, the biggest show