Guti manages to relieve pressure on Luxemburgo

Real Betis 0 Real Madrid 2

In fact, the game was more reminiscent of a must-win relegation dog-fight than a meeting of two Champions' League sides. Real had lost successive games to Valencia and Deportivo La Coruña, while Betis had lost 4-0 at Chelsea and 5-0 in Malaga.

The quality of football on display was pretty poor, as the fear of defeat dominated. But the gloom was illuminated by two shining pieces of skill. After half an hour of somnolent football, Real sparked into life when Guti found himself in space on the left and slipped a pass to Raul, who quickly squared across the area. The Uruguayan midfielder Carlos Diogo let the ball run to Robinho and the Brazilian squeezed a first-time shot inside the far post.

The second flash of brilliance came 10 minutes from time, when Guti picked up the ball in the centre of midfield and dinked a magnificent pass towards Alvaro Mejia, who looped a delicate header into the far corner.

Jonathan Woodgate, the former Newcastle centre-back, is at last showing the glimpses of quality that persuaded Real to sign him.

In midweek he was given a torrid time by Deportivo, but against Betis he looked far more assured. Strong in the tackle and authoritative in the air, he is progressing well, but has a difficult task on his hands if he is to displace Ivan Helguera and Sergio Ramos.

Real's first win at Betis in eight seasons will give them hope that they can hold out until the galactico cavalry can come to the rescue. But the unambitious post-match analysis of their coach, Wanderley Luxemburgo, will do little to inspire confidence in his employers.

"It was a very important victory for me and the players," he said. "If we had lost I would still have been pleased because the team showed a lot of character and battled away all game."

For Betis' fans a visit from the seemingly unstoppable Chelsea now beckons. It is hardly the most appetising prospect when your team is on a four-match losing streak.

Real Betis (4-4-2): Doblas; Varela, Lembo, Nano, Castellini; Cañas (Israel, 46), Arzu (Capi, 58), Rivera, Xisco (Dani, 58); Edu, Oliveira. Substitutes not used: Contreras (gk), Isidoro, Juanlu, Fernando

Real Madrid (4-3-1-2): Casillas; Michel Salgado (De la Red, 82), Woodgate, Helguera, Roberto Carlos; Diogo (Mejia, 78), Ramos, Pablo Garcia; Guti; Robinho (Jurado, 89), Raul. Substitutes not used: Lopez (gk), Bravo, Pavon, Soldado

Referee: A Perez Burrull.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee