Real Madrid held as Aitor Ruibal Rocket earn draw to Real Betis

Leaders Real Madrid stumbled to a 1-1 draw with Real Betis on Saturday as Aitor Ruibal’s brilliant strike was canceled out Jude Bellinghams league-best 12th goal of the season. Bellingham put Madrid ahead through Benito Villamarin early in the second half after combining magnificently with Brahim Diaz. But Ruibal drilled an angled shot into the top corner from outside the area to earn Betis a point and extend their unbeaten run in La Liga to 11 games.

“It was a good match, competitive and even, the result is fair,” said Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. “I’m satisfied because you won’t always be able to win every game.”

Madrid pulled a point ahead of Girona but could lose top spot on Sunday if the surprise challengers beat neighbors Barcelona in a Catalan derby. The visitors thought they had taken the lead when Diaz turned in from close range on 16 minutes following a superb exchange between Bellingham and Rodrygo.

Bellingham put the ball back to Rodrygo, who slipped the ball between the legs of a defender. An attempted clearance ricocheted off Rodrygo and left Diaz with a tap-in, but the Brazilian was offside in the build-up. Chasing a fifth successive home league win, Betis twice went close as Ayoze Perez saw an effort well saved by Andriy Lunin before William Jose bent an effort narrowly wide of the far post.

Betis goalkeeper Rui Silva clawed behind a long-range drive from Luka Modricbut he was powerless to stop Bellingham breaking the deadlock eight minutes after the break.

The England midfielder picked up the ball deep in Betis territory near the touchline, found Diaz and disposed of the scooped return pass as he streaked into the box and slotted past Silva.

Madrid’s lead lasted just 13 minutes as Ruibal was given far too much time and space before volleying home from 20 yards to grab his first league goal in two-and-a-half years. Both teams pushed for a winner and former Madrid striker Isco almost canceled out his old club when he headed against the post.

Joselu dribbled an effort agonizingly wide in stoppage time at the other end before Lunin tipped over centre-back Chadi Riad’s header with the final touch of the game. “Nobody can say it’s a bad point against Real Madrid, but I think we deserved the three points,” said Betis coach Manuel Pellegrini.

Las Palmas continued their promising run as they returned to the top flight, winning 1-0 at Alaves thanks to Kirian Rodriguez’s goal to move them back up to eighth.

Barca can close the gap on Madrid to two points if they beat Girona on Sunday, while Atletico Madrid will look to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat at Montjuic when they play bottom club Almeria.

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