Real Betis

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History denied! Real Madrid loses, fails in bid to beat Pele-led record (video)

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Real Madrid did everything but score, and now find themselves denied a chance at unparalleled history and in a relatively deep early hole in La Liga’s table.

A stoppage time loss to visiting Real Betis ended the club’s 73-match run of matches with a goal, and it came on the day it could’ve passed Pele’s Santos for sole possession of the longest scoring streak in history.

[ MORE: Pulisic scores 10th BVB goal ]

Perhaps more important, Madrid now sits seven points back of first place Barcelona. Their eight points leave them sixth.

Real Madrid 0-1 Real Betis

The hosts looked so good, and so fluid… and provided any number of finishes which would’ve been goals on another day. Unfortunately for them, the only goal came from Paraguay’s Antonio Sanabria in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time.

That’s because Real Betis goalkeeper Antonio Adan was sensational, including a stunning stop on Gareth Bale‘s backheeled volley in the final quarter hour.

It could’ve gone worse for Madrid, as Mexico’s Andres Guardado had an assist called back for offside.

Before that, there was this from one of the best in history:

Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Angel Correa and Yannick Carrasco helped the visitors go second in La Liga, as ex-Atleti midfielder Raul Garcia provided Athletic’s only goal deep into stoppage time.

Elsewhere
Leganes 0-0 Girona
Deportivo de la Coruna 1-0 Alaves
Sevilla 1-0 Las Palmas

Honoring victims of attacks, Barcelona wins league opener

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Wearing shirts honoring victims of the recent attacks in Spain, Barcelona opened its Spanish league season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Real Betis on Sunday.

[ MORE: Neymar double helps PSG cruise past Toulouse ]

Players had the word “Barcelona” instead of their names on the back of their shirts, and the Catalan hashtag “TOTSSOMBARCELONA” (We are all Barcelona) was on display around the Camp Nou stadium. The message was also shown on the stadium’s large screens, as well as on many banners carried by fans.

An emotional minute’s silence was held before the game as the music of Catalan cellist Pau Casals played in the background.

Before the minute was up, the more than 55,000 fans at the stadium broke into a round of applause and began chanting “No tinc por” (I’m not afraid), a chant which has become a symbol of people’s reactions to the attacks that killed 14 people and injured more than 120 in Barcelona and the nearby seaside resort of Cambrils.

Extra security was implemented in and around Camp Nou.

There was a minute’s silence before every Spanish league match this weekend.

Without Neymar and the injured Luis Suarez, Barcelona got off to a winning start in the league after consecutive losses to rival Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup final.

It scored two goals three minutes apart near the end of the first half – an own-goal by Betis defender Alin Tosca and a close-range shot by Sergi Roberto. Both goals came after plays started by Gerard Deulofeu, one of the players expected to try to replace Neymar after his world record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.

“We lost depth with Neymar’s departure and we have to find a way to overcome that,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Lionel Messi looked lively but wasn’t able to score his 350th goal in La Liga. He came close, though, being denied by the woodwork three different times.

AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Real Madrid set to add UEFA U-21 Player of Tournament

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Real Madrid just keeps loading up for its bid to become the first threepeat champions of the UEFA Champions League since Bayern Munich in 1976.

Ajax has also turned the trick, and Real won the first five iterations of the tournament between 1956-60.

While James Rodriguez could be sold, Real has beat its La Liga rivals to a pair of top targets. Last week, it was Atletico Madrid defender Theo Hernandez. Now, it could be another player on Barcelona’s radar.

Dani Ceballos is the latest name, and Real Madrid will buy him from Real Betis for a little over $20 million according to Marca.

Ceballos turns 21 in August and already has 98 appearances for Betis, with seven goals. He was the UEFA U-21 Championship Player of the Tournament this summer.

MLS, Liga MX target Guardado opts for 3-year deal in Spain

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One of the best players in Mexican history is headed back to La Liga.

Andres Guardado, 30, has been linked with moves to MLS and Liga MX for some time, but instead is swapping PSV Eindhoven for Real Betis on a reported three-year deal.

His new club finished 15th in La Liga this past season, moving Guardado from the UEFA Champions League to aiming to surprise in Spain.

[ MORE: Chelsea matching Lukaku bid? ]

Guardado played as a deep-lying midfielder in the Netherlands, but spent previous season as a primarily left-sided player from back up to wing.

He’s made 149 appearances in La Liga during his career, scoring 13 goals to go with 21 assists. He’s been capped 139 times by Mexico.

Referee botches two calls in one play in Barcelona draw

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Barcelona was forced to fight back to a 1-1 draw with Real Betis, further complicating their chances for the La Liga title. It probably shouldn’t have ended that way.

With 14 minutes to go, there was a ridiculous miss by the referee that left Barcelona absolutely livid. Chasing a ball into the box, Neymar was ripped down to the ground with a choke hold, but the referee was somehow left unmoved.

With play continuing despite Neymar laying on his back, Jordi Alba followed up the chance, but under pressure from another defender, the ball was poked on net. With the goalkeeper out, Betis defender Aissa Mandi was there to clear the ball off the line.

Except, the ball had clearly crossed the line, by a wide margin, before Mandi cleared the ball. No goal was given.

Barcelona would eventually get an equalizer in the 90th minute, leaving the match with a point on a 1-1 draw. However, they will feel robbed of the chance to pull out a winner after clearly earning the point 14 minutes earlier.

The draw leaves Barcelona two points back of Real Madrid at the top of the table, with Los Blancos still owning a game in hand as they are set to host Real Sociedad later this afternoon.