Real Betis 1 Real Madrid 0: Mourinho's band of superstars suffer yet another title setback
00:06 GMT, 25 November 2012
Etxebarria Benat's first-half strike dealt a heavy blow to Real Madrid's defence of their Primera Division title as Real Betis claimed a famous win.
Jose Mourinho's men dominated throughout yet they could not find a way through Betis' defence and goalkeeper Adrian in particular after they had fallen behind to Benat's first-half strike from 25 yards.
The defeat was Madrid's first in nine league matches and they remain eight points adrift of leaders Barcelona, who could stretch their lead even further at sixth-placed Levante on Sunday.
Dejection: Sergio Ramos (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo (right) could not make a breakthrough for Real Madrid
Betis, meanwhile, made significant
amends for their 5-1 humiliation at the hands of local rivals Sevilla
last week and they moved up to fifth.
There were no signs of an upset in
the early stages as Madrid, who were on the right side of a 5-1 result
last week against Athletic Bilbao, settled nicely, with Cristiano
Ronaldo's left-foot strike palmed away by Betis goalkeeper Adrian.
Germany international Sami Khedira
fired wide from the edge of the area but the visitors were stunned when
Benat put Betis ahead against the run of play with their first foray on
The midfielder collected the ball 30 yards from goal and dribbled past Khedira before drilling low into the left corner.
Mobbed: Benat Etxebarria (right) scored the decisive goal
Another one: Ronaldo did not score against Manchester City or Betis
And Mourinho's men could have been
two down had it not been for a superb save from Iker Casillas, who
tipped over Ruben Castro's strike from the left side of the penalty
Yet it was Madrid who continued to
control the tempo of proceedings and Angel Di Maria spurned two decent
chances to level in quick succession.
First, the Argentinian's effort from
close range was tipped over by Adrian and the winger then latched onto
Karim Benzema's ball into the area before lifting the ball onto the roof
of the net.
Benzema thought he had grabbed the
equaliser after converting Xabi Alonso's free-kick but was ruled offside
while Di Maria beat the offside to go clean through on goal but flashed
his effort wide from a narrow angle.
The visitors continued to lay siege
to Betis' goal after the break and Kaka's shot from distance forced a
spectacular save from Adrian and only Jose Antonio Dorado's last-gasp
clearance denied Benzema from converting Ronaldo's low cross into the
Whack: Jose Maria Callejon and Ronaldo are wiped out by a challenge
Ronaldo, who had only scored once in
his last five appearances before tonight, set out to end his
mini-drought but his powerful free-kick was tipped over by Adrian, who
then pushed Benzema's close-range header wide.
Madrid continued to push numbers
forward as they sought to avoid their third league defeat on the road
this season but it was all in vain as the hosts valiantly held on to
secure a valuable three points.
Malaga earlier registered their first league win in five games as they hammered Valencia 4-0 at La Rosaleda to move back into the top four ahead of Levante's game on Sunday.
The margin of victory could have been even greater for the hosts, who controlled the game from the off and went ahead just eight minutes in when Francisco Portillo curled home from Eliseu's cut-back.
Javier Saviola made it 2-0 15 minutes from time – a goal that was quickly followed by a third from Roque Santa Cruz.
Valencia were then reduced to 10 men as Adil Rami saw a second yellow card and Isco rounded off a fantastic evening for Malaga with a fourth in stoppage time.
Middle man: Luka Modric could not penetrate for Real
Not tonight: Barcelona could stretch their lead to 11 points at Levante
Elsewhere, Real Valladolid stretched their unbeaten home run to six games as Manucho's second-half strike secured a 1-0 victory over Granada.
The Angolan had come close to breaking the deadlock in the first half with an overhead kick but made no mistake just after the hour when he was played in by Oscar Gonzalez and sent a fierce shot beyond Tono into the top corner.
Finally, Rayo Vallecano left it late to see off out-of-form Real Mallorca 2-0 in an awful game this afternoon.
A match utterly devoid of excitement looked headed for a goalless draw until Leo Baptistao broke the deadlock with a goal totally out of keeping with what had gone beforehand, firing home low from 30 yards.
He then turned provider as substitute Andrija Delibasic got a second in the 90th minute to keep the hosts well placed in the top half and condemn the visitors to a seventh defeat in eight league games.
Elsewhere: Malaga hammered Valencia