Asensio inspires Madrid comeback

Marco Asensio scored twice to help Real Madrid come from behind to beat Real Betis 5-3 in a fantastic and frantic match.

Asensio opened the scoring after Antonio Adan could only parry Cristiano Ronaldo’s powerful shot and with the ball looping, the winger found a gap and headed into the back of the net.

It was a header that put Betis level as well as Aissa Mandi met a devilish Joaquin cross from close range.

Nacho then diverted a Junior shot into his own net to put Betis in front with Keylor Navas perhaps at fault for not holding the left-back’s tame effort, instead letting it slip under him and into his teammate’s path.

His centre-back partner Sergio Ramos levelled the scores early in the second half, meeting Lucas Vazquez’s corner with a thumping header and Asensio doubled up with an elegant finish just before the hour to restore Madrid’s lead.

Ronaldo added a fourth goal as Madrid refused to relent, Betis again allowing the Portuguese time and space in the penalty area and again being punished for it.

Sergio Leon set up a grandstand finish when he converted Junior’s cross at the far post but Madrid were able to hold on for the three points, Karim Benzema scoring after Betis gave the ball away in a dangerous position.

Zinedine Zidane made a number of changes from the side that beat Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, Raphael Varane, Luka Modric, Isco and Benzema all dropping out with Gareth Bale among the new faces. Quique Setien meanwhile made one change from the XI that beat Deportivo La Coruna in Betis’ last outing.

Asensio, who made a critical contribution in the midweek win over Paris Saint-Germain, opened the scoring early after Betis failed to deal with Marcelo’s cross from the left. It eventually fell to Ronaldo and when his effort was blocked, Asensio was on hand.

Betis responded well to going behind, getting on the front foot and forcing a number of corners, one of which was almost headed past Navas by Mandi, but he could only glance the ball the other side of the post.

Loren Moron put a low shot from range past Navas’ other post when surrounded by blue Madrid shirts and in truth the immediate period after Madrid’s goal was dominated by the home side.

Navas was finally called into action when Joaquin struck a thunderous free-kick towards the goalkeeper’s top right corner, the Costa Rica international flying to tip the ball over the bar.

There was concern of a different kind for Zidane when Marcelo pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury, although the Brazilian was able to leave the field under his own power.

Mandi’s equaliser arrived before half time and Betis went in front a few minutes later after overloading down the Madrid right, getting a reward for their endeavour and excellent opening 45 minutes.

Betis began the second 45 minutes in the same fashion, Andres Guardado curling an attempt over the crossbar but Madrid clawed themselves level through Ramos’ powerful header moments later.

Bale finally came into the match just before the hour mark as he went bursting through the Betis defence but Adan stood up and made the block from a tight angle, and almost immediately after drew another save from the goalkeeper.

Madrid’s opening quarter-hour after the break was better than anything produced in the first half and Asensio’s goal, after fine wide play from Dani Carvajal, was no less than they deserved.

Ronaldo found space to grab Madrid’s fourth seven minutes later before Moron could only head over the crossbar when finding space himself and Navas held on to Fabian’s shot from range.

From even greater range was Guardado giving Navas a scare from inside his own half and just as it seemed Betis were running out of ideas, Junior delivered from the left and Leon popped up to reduce the deficit.

Real Betis 3-5 Real Madrid

Asensio 12, 58 (RM), Mandi 34, Nacho og 37 (RB), Ramos 51, Ronaldo 65 (RM), Leon 85 (RB), Benzema 90+2

Real Betis: Adan; Barragan, Mandi, Amat (Garcia 75), Bartra, Junior; Fabian, Guardado (Sergio Leon 81), Boudebouz (Tello 81), Joaquin; Loren

Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Nacho, Marcelo (Theo 29); Vazquez, Casemiro, Kovacic, Asensio; Ronaldo (Benzema 89), Bale (Isco 73)

Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano

La Liga - Club News