Saturday October 15, 2011 (17.00 UK)
Higuain 46, 70, 73, Kaka 59 – Molina 69
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Real Madrid kept the pressure on Barcelona as they took all three points against a spirited Real Betis side in an entertaining affair. Gonzalo Higuain took his goal tally to eight for La Liga with a second hat trick in as many games, but he was helped out by his fellow forwards.
Pepe Mel gave a start to his exciting young forward Alvaro Vadillo, who almost opened the scoring in the opening minutes but his shot was saved by Iker Casillas. He looked bright, but unfortunately had to come off after only 20 minutes when he twisted his knee. The home side dominated possession and created a number of chances in the first half, but they could not convert any and the teams went into the break even.
Jose Mourinho’s men took the lead quickly after the restart when Higuain scored after some good work by Ronaldo. The Portuguese forward then went close himself after breaking through the Betis defence; however he skewed his shot just wide of Casto’s post.
Madrid continued to create chances as the second half progressed and in the 59th minute they managed to double their lead, Ronaldo again providing the assist, this time for Kaka to place a right-footed shot into Casto’s bottom corner.
Los Beticos pulled a goal back when Ruben Castro burst through the Madrid defence and set up Jorge Molina to hammer past Casillas. However, less than a minute later Los Blancos restored their two-goal advantage when substitute Angel Di Maria played an excellent through ball for Higuain, who rounded Casto and slotted home for his second. Three minutes later Higuain completed his hat trick after Di Maria again played him in. The Argentine’s deft chip over Casto was his sixth goal in his last two games and put Madrid firmly in control.
Betis pressed forward as the game came to a close, but Madrid held out to secure their fourth win in six games and continued their push to the top of the table.
Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Diarra, Alonso; Ozil (Coentrao 74), Kaka (Di Maria 60), Ronaldo (Altintop 78); Higuian
Unused subs: Khedira, Adan, Varane, Benzema
Real Betis (4-3-3): Casto; Chica, Amaya, Dorado, Nacho; Benat (Momo 77), Iriney, Sevilla (Santa Cruz 62); Castro, Molina, Vadillo (Rodriguez 21)
Unused subs: Canas, Goitia, Juanma, Pereira
Did you know… In the last five La Primera encounters between these two sides, Real Madrid have scored 11 more goals than Real Betis (via @whoscored).