Sergio Ramos’ late penalty secured Real Madrid their first win of the 2020-21 LaLiga season as Los Blancos won 3-2 at 10-man Real Betis, for whom Barcelona-owned Emerson endured something of a nightmare.
Zinedine Zidane’s men began their title defence with an underwhelming 0-0 stalemate with Real Sociedad, and while they were only marginally better in Seville, they just about made the most of their numerical advantage.
Madrid initially looked good value for their lead when Federico Valverde prodded them in front, but Betis showed excellent resilience to turn it around.
Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho did the damage in a three-minute salvo, the latter netting in successive games having not scored in his first 57 outings for the club.
Things began to look up for Madrid early in the second half when Emerson found his own net before then getting sent off, and Los Blancos completed the win thanks to Ramos’ spot-kick eight minutes from time.
An action-packed opening gave encouragement to both sides, as Madrid had a Karim Benzema goal disallowed for offside, before Thibaut Courtois thwarted Antonio Sanabria.
There was no denying Madrid in the 14th minute when Valverde turned in Benzema’s cross to make it 1-0, though Ramos inexplicably smashed wide just seven yards out a few moments later.
Betis responded well and netted twice in quick succession to turn the game on its head – Mandi first met Sergio Canales’ delivery with a towering header, before Carvalho charged on to Nabil Fekir’s pass and drilled past Courtois with 37 minutes on the clock.
An apparent hamstring injury to Toni Kroos late in the first half led to Luka Modric’s introduction, and that was followed by Isco replacing Martin Odegaard at the interval.
It seemed to aid the fluency of Madrid, who restored parity when Emerson nudged Dani Carvajal’s cross past his own goalkeeper just after the restart.
Emerson’s day then went from bad to worse as he was sent off for tripping Luka Jovic when through on goal.
Madrid eventually made the most of the extra man 15 minutes later, as Marc Bartra handled the ball while tussling with Borja Mayoral – Jovic’s replacement – and Ramos’ subsequent ‘Panenka’ sealed the points.
Real Betis: Robles, Emerson, Mandi, Bartra, Moreno, Rodriguez, Carvalho, Joaquin (Tello 63), Fekir (Loren 73), Canales, Sanabria (Montoya 69).
Goals: Mandi 35, Carvalho 37
Booked: Emerson, Rodriguez, Canales, Bartra, Mandi.
Sent off: Emerson
Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Real Madrid: Courtois, Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Mendy, Casemiro, Valverde, Kroos (Modric 45+1), Odegaard, Jovic (Mayoral 72), Benzema.
Goals: Valverde 14, Emerson OG 48, Ramos 82
Booked: Carvajal, Modric
Manager: Zinedine Zidane