Good morning and welcome to Sports Mole
's live commentary of the La Liga clash between Real Madrid
and Real Betis
from the Bernabeu. Madrid will looking to end what has been a disappointing 2018-19 season on a positive note. Zinedine Zidane
's side will end the campaign in third position in the table, while Betis currently occupy 11th after a disappointing run of form has seen them fall off the pace in the battle for a European finish. Stay tuned!
REAL MADRID: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Valverde, Llorente, Modric; Brahim, Benzema, Vinicius
REAL BETIS: Pau; Francis, Mandi, Feddal, Bartra, Junior; William, Guardado, Kaptoum; Lo Celso, Loren
Casemiro and Jesus Vallejo both miss out for Madrid through suspension, while captain Sergio Ramos is still on the sidelines with a hamstring problem. Head coach Zinedine Zidane has shuffled his pack, though, with Raphael Varane, Marcos Llorente, Luka Modric, Vinicius Junior and Federico Valverde all coming into the XI. Gareth Bale makes the bench on what could be his final game for the club.
As for Betis, Antonio Barragan and Sergio Canales are both injured, while Joaquin misses out through suspension. It looks to be either a 5-3-2 or a 3-5-2 for the visitors here, with Giovani Lo Celso joining Loren in attack. Cristian Tello, Sergio Tello and Jese Rodriguez are all on the bench for the away side, who have struggled for results in recent months.
KICKOFF: Madrid kick things off in front of their own supporters...
... far from a full house at the Bernabeu this afternoon but there is a good atmosphere. Madrid will be desperate to give their supporters something to cheer heading into the summer, which is huge for the European champions for a number of reasons.
A record of 21 wins, five draws and 11 defeats from their 37 La Liga matches is an indication of Madrid's problems this season. Los Blancos will end the campaign in third, which was also the case last term, but they will be at least five points worse off than their total at the end of the 2017-18 season. Huge changes are needed ahead of next term.
Atletico Madrid have once again been Barcelona's closest challengers, but the Catalan giants have won the league in fairly comfortable fashion once more. As it stands, the reigning champions are a huge 18 points ahead of Madrid, but that could reach 21 if results go against Zinedine Zidane's side on the final day - Barca travel to Eibar later this afternoon.
Madrid have only won once in the league since April 21, suffering defeats away to Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad in two of their last three matches. Los Blancos have won each of their last five games in front of their own fans, though, and will be keen to end the season on a high.
Not too much to report in the opening 10 minutes of this match - Madrid have been on the front foot, but Betis have been comfortable defending their lines. Still goalless in the capital.
Betis impressed many with their performances last term - ultimately claiming a top-six finish in La Liga. The Spanish club were therefore present in this season's Europa League, but were eliminated in the first knockout round of the competition by French side Rennes.
Los Verdiblancos reached the semi-finals of this season's Copa del Rey, meanwhile, where they lost 3-2 to Valencia on aggregate. It has been a busy campaign in terms of volume of matches and it is perhaps not that surprising that the team's league form has suffered in recent months. Guadrado has just had a free kick outside the Madrid box but it was turned behind by Carvajal.
Betis have been very much on the front foot in the last few minutes but have just been unable to find that final pass. Not too much going forward from Madrid at the moment here.
Betis have a free kick in a decent area as William is fouled by Llorente...
CHANCE! ... Guadrado finds Lo Celso with a free kick, but his header is saved by Navas.
Only Celta Vigo (11), Huesca (11) and Rayo Vallecano (14) have actually lost more away games than Betis (10) during the 2018-19 La Liga season. Their form on the road has been a problem throughout the campaign, but they did record a 1-0 victory when they last travelled to the Bernabeu.
There remains huge uncertainty surrounding the future of head coach Quique Setien. Indeed, it has been claimed that Betis could decide to sack the Spaniard this summer, but there has not yet been an official announcement on the future of the 60-year-old, who still has a year to run on his deal.
The goals have been shared out for Betis this season, with midfielders Giovani Lo Celso and Sergio Canales scoring 16 times between them in the league. Loren Moron has only managed five, though, while Cristian Tello and Antonio Sanabria have registered just six between them.
SHOT! Marcelo hits one from distance but his effort was always wide of the post.
SHOT! Marcelo again with the strike, but his volley was always missing the target.
Betis are certainly a lot better than they have shown in recent weeks and there is no question that a win at the Bernabeu would give their fans plenty of reasons to be cheerful ahead of the summer window. It is still goalless with 29 minutes on the clock, but the tempo is high here.
SAVE! Smart save from Navas to tip a Bartra effort over the crossbar!
Madrid recorded a 2-1 victory when the two teams met in Seville earlier this season. However, as mentioned, Betis ran out 1-0 winners when the pair last met at the Bernabeu in La Liga, with Sanabria scoring in the fourth minute of added time at the end of the 90. Little under 15 minutes of the first period remaining and Betis currently have the ball inside Madrid's half of the field.
YELLOW CARD! Kaptoum (Betis) is booked for a foul on Vinicius.
Vinicius has a shot blocked on the edge of the box and that allows Betis to break, but Llorente is across to make the challenge. Still we await the first goal of this afternoon's contest.
OFF THE POST! Oh my word! A huge mix-up inside the Betis box hands Benzema a huge chance to score, but the Frenchman sends his low effort against the post. Big chance for the home side.
SAVE! Navas has to tip a dipping effort from Lo Celso over the Madrid crossbar!
YELLOW CARD! Llorente (Madrid) is booked for a foul on Loren.
CHANCE! Huge chance for Junior to score from a header, but the left-back misses the crossbar from close range! Somehow this match is still goalless despite a lot of chances.
Little over five minutes of the first period remaining and plenty is happening at the moment as both teams look to make the breakthrough before the half-time interval.
Navas collects a wide free kick from Lo Celso as the Costa Rica international remains busy between the home side's sticks. Navas has been very good in the first 42 minutes here.
Just a reminder that Bale is on the Madrid bench this afternoon and the Wales international is expected to play some sort out part on what could be his farewell game for the club.
Possession football from Madrid as we head for the half-time break. Betis will be delighted with their performance in the first period - the visitors have been the better side here.
HALF TIME: REAL MADRID 0-0 REAL BETIS
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the two teams level at 0-0. Both sides have had their moments in the final third, but neither has been able to find the back of the net. In many ways, the first half has been the story of Madrid's 2018-19 campaign.
STATISTICS! Betis shaded the first-half possession with 52%, while the visitors managed five attempts, four of which were on target. Madrid also had five attempts in the opening half, but just one of those was on target. Kaptoum and Llorente have both picked up yellow cards.
BENCH WATCH! Isco, Asensio, Bale and Kroos are amongst those on a very strong Madrid bench this afternoon. Meanwhile, Betis have the likes of Jese, Emerson, Leon and Tello in reserve. It will be fascinating to see whether Bale is introduced in the second period.
KICKOFF: Betis resume the action in the Spanish capital...
... no changes from either side at the break, which is not too much of a surprise. However, I suspect that both managers will have alterations in mind as the second half develops here.
Betis might have to make a change here as Kaptoum pulls up with what looks to be a knee injury. Tello is receiving some instructions and that might be the alteration here.
Kaptoum is actually straight back on the field, which is a surprise.
YELLOW CARD! Valverde (Madrid) is booked for a foul on Guardado.
Not too much to report in terms of attacking intent from either side at the start of the second period. Benzema has just broken into the Betis box, but Mandi makes the challenge.
Benzema breaks into the Betis box and looks to find Vinicius, but Bartra is on hand to make the clearance. Better from Benzema in terms of movement and touch there.
You do get the feeling that a goal is coming in this match as Madrid start to force the issue. There is so much space on the counter if Betis can take advantage of it here.
All Madrid in terms of possession at the moment as the home side continue to pass and probe, but it is difficult to say that Betis are coming under severe pressure at the Bernabeu.
CHANCE! Super work from Vinicius as the Brazilian dances into the Betis box before looking to pick out the bottom corner, but Pau Lopez is on hand to make an excellent save.
YELLOW CARD! Carvajal (Madrid) picks up a yellow for bringing Junior to the deck.
REAL MADRID SUB! Asensio replaces Brahim for the home side.
GOAL! REAL MADRID 0-1 REAL BETIS (LOREN)
What a super goal! Betis make the breakthrough in the 61st minute as a super ball from Lo Celso releases Guardado, whose low cross is fired home by Loren at the far post!
SHOT! Still no sign of Bale as we head for the final 25 minutes. Vinicius has just had a shot from outside the box, but his effort was always moving wide of the post.
Vinicius again breaks into the Betis box, but the Brazilian runs out of room.
Llorente looks to be struggling for Madrid and a change might need to be made.
SAVE! Another wonderful save from Navas to keep out a curling strike from Lo Celso!
REAL BETIS SUB! Jese replaces Kaptoum for the away side.
REAL MADRID SUB! Isco replaces Valverde for the home side.
Little under 20 minutes of the second period remaining and Betis still lead. Isco has just broken into the Madrid box, but Carvalho was on hand to make a smart save.
SHOT! Asensio misses the post with a strike from outside the box.
Betis are moving into 10th position as things stand, but there is still a lot of football to be played before the afternoon is out. Just a reminder that Barcelona head to Eibar later this afternoon and we will also have live text coverage of that one from 3.10pm UK time.
REAL BETIS SUB! Tello replaces Loren for the away side.
Still no sign of Bale - Zidane isn't going to throw him on in the 89th minute is he? I am not too sure how the Wales international would feel about that! Big 15 minutes or so ahead here.
GOAL! REAL MADRID 0-2 REAL BETIS (JESE RODRIGUEZ)
Oh my word! Betis double their advantage in Madrid as Jese Rodriguez - formerly of Los Blancos - turns a low Junior cross into the back of the net from close range!
REAL MADRID SUB! Lucas for Benzema is Madrid's final change here.
A number of Madrid fans have started to make their way towards the exit, which is not too much of a surprise. It has been another disappointing afternoon for Los Blancos.
Betis continue to threaten on the counter-attack as the away side chase a third goal.
Betis are enjoying themselves here as they continue to threaten on the break.
YELLOW CARD! Isco (Real Madrid) is booked for a foul on Carvalho.
Betis just went to make a change but then Portugal midfielder Carvalho pulled up and there is now some confusion over who will enter for the latter stages of this contest...
... possession football from Betis as we approach the 90th minute here.
REAL BETIS SUB! Sidnei replaces Carvalho for the away side.
SHOT! Asensio curls wide of the Betis post from distance.
FULL TIME: REAL MADRID 0-2 REAL BETIS
So there we have it. The referee brings the match to a close with Madrid suffering a 2-0 defeat to Betis at the Bernabeu. It is a result that just about sums up Madrid's season! Thanks for joining Sports Mole for our live text coverage once again. Until next time!