LA LIGA

Determined Betis brings Real down in Seville for second time

Mourinho salutes Andalusian fans as champion risks falling 11 points behind leader Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo on his knees during the match against Real Betis.
Cristiano Ronaldo on his knees during the match against Real Betis.TONI RODRIGUEZ (DIARIO AS)

Real Madrid on Saturday night fell to its third Liga defeat this season — one more than in the whole of its victorious 2011-12 campaign — after a determined Real Betis (playing at home and not in Madrid as was incorrectly stated in Saturday’s edition) scored an early goal and clung on for an unlikely 1-0 win.

It was the second time this season that José Mourinho’s team had lost in Seville and signaled a remarkable turnaround for Betis after a humiliating 5-1 thrashing by Sevilla in the Andalusian capital’s derby match last weekend. The 16th-minute goal by Spain international Beñat — who latched on to a terrible attempted clearance by Ángel di María — a dogged rearguard effort and some luck with tight refereeing decisions gave Betis three points and meant third-placed Madrid had handed leader Barcelona the chance to open the gap on its main rival to 11 points in Sunday night’s late game at Levante.

After the match Mourinho made a point of applauding the crowd at Betis’ Benito Villamarín stadium and congratulating the home team’s players as they left the field. He later pointed out a goal by Karim Benzema should not have been disallowed for offside and that a Betis player had handled the ball in his own penalty area. But he also said he didn’t want to be the only club figure complaining about the referee and be “the baddie of the movie.”

In fact, Real Madrid sporting director Miguel Pardeza also said the referee had been wrong on those two calls, while team captain Iker Casillas also defended the “temperament” of his coach.

Elsewhere, Málaga outplayed visitor Valencia to win 4-0, Rayo Vallecano beat Mallorca 2-0, Valladolid overcame Granada 1-0, Sociedad was held 0-0 at home by Osasuna and, on Sunday, Getafe won 0-2 at Espanyol.

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