Thibaut Courtois and Raphael Varane impressed even as Real Madrid lost crucial ground in the La Liga title race after a 0-0 draw with Real Betis on Saturday.

Coming into the game three points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid needed a win to move to the top of the table. But the reigning champions were npt able to find a way through as Real Betis frustrated them for most of the first half. Karim Benzema and Rodrygo did have a couple of promising chances but saw them being saved/blocked.

More of the same followed in the second period as well, with Real Madrid controlling possession without able to create openings. Rodrygo did come close with an effort that was tipped onto the bar by Claudio Bravo, who also denied Luka Modric. At the other end, Real Betis threatened briefly with Thibaut Courtois needing to make a big save to stop Borja Iglesias.

Zinedine Zidane’s men pushed till the end in search of a winner but were not able to find a way through and now risk falling five points behind Atletico Madrid, who face Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. Here are the player ratings for the Real Madrid stars in what was a disappointing outing at home.

Thibaut Courtois: 7/10

Not called into action a great deal in the first period. Alert to threat after the break as he made a straightforward stop from Guido Rodriguez’s shot before charging out and stopping Iglesias from scoring, in what was a crucial moment in the game. Misplaced just three of his 30 passes.

Dani Carvajal: 6/10

Having made his return from injury in midweek, Carvajal got a starting berth on Saturday night and he had a largely positive outing. Drove forward with usual purpose and tried to hit in crosses even though they did not always reach the intended target. Defended well for the most part before being taken off in the 68th minute.

Raphael Varane: 7/10

A solid display from the Frenchman, who cut a calm and composed figure at the back throughout the game. Never really stretched by the visitors, Varane swept up whatever came his way without much of a fuss, making four clearances and winning four aerial duels. Also finished with a 95% pass accuracy. One or two occasions when he was caught out of position, but no harm was done.

Eder Militao: 7/10

Continued on his upward trajectory with another resolute performance at the heart of the Real Madrid defence, making two clearances and three interceptions. Dealt with Borja Iglesias relatively easily for most parts while also showing great improvement with his ball-distribution as he misplaced just two of his 61 attempted passes on the night.

Nacho: 6/10

Slotting in at left-back in the absence of Ferland Mendy, the Spaniard was solid at the back but was not able to offer much in terms of an attacking outlet on his flank, something that Real Madrid needed on the night to break open the Betis defence.

Luka Modric: 6.5/10

Back into the lineup after missing the last game, the veteran Croat went about his business with typical energy in the middle of the park. Managed to play a couple of key passes and had a shot saved in the second half as well. However, Modric looked a bit tired and in need of rest. Withdrawn for the final fifteen minutes or so.

Casemiro: 6.5/10

Aggressive and solid off the ball as ever, as he made three tackles, but the Brazilian’s quality on the ball was a major letdown as he lost possession 19 times over the course of the game, finishing with just 76% passes completed. Did manage to create a couple of half-chances that did not lead to anything. Had a shot saved as well.

Isco: 6/10

Handed a rare start to make an impression, the Spaniard had a few bright moments in the first half with his through-ball for Benzema being a highlight, although the striker had strayed offside. Used the ball well, completing 97% of his passes but was not able to unlock the Betis defence.

Rodrygo Goes: 6/10

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Retained in the starting lineup, the Brazilian showed some spark every and now then, having a shot blocked in the first half then another effort getting tipped on to the woodwork by Bravo after the break. Apart from that, though, he was not able to trouble the visitors much. Did not play a single key pass.

Karim Benzema: 6.5/10

The man in form for Real Madrid, Benzema looked the likeliest to do any damage to Betis on the night and had a shot saved in the first half. Worked hard while his movement was sharp as usual, but the support and service wasn’t always there from those around him. Managed two key passes.

Marco Asensio: 5.5/10

Preferred over Vinicius Junior on the left flank, Asensio had a quiet outing against Betis. There were a few moments here and there when he looked like he would burst but nothing happened. Passive with his passing, not accurate with his shooting. Did finish with two key passes but largely ineffective.

SUBSTITUTES

Vinicius Junior: 6/10

On for his compatriot, Rodrygo, just before the hour mark. Made a couple of piercing runs but the end product was not there, as has been the case for a majority of this season.

Alvaro Odriozola: 6/10

Replaced Carvajal with a little over 20 minutes left. Provided a decent outlet on the right side, producing two key passes and a shot.

Marcelo: 5/10

On for Isco in the 68th minute, sparking a change of shape, with Real Madrid moving into a three-man defence with wing-backs. Got forward well but did not always make the right decisions. Could have done better with a chance created by Odriozola.

Eden Hazard: N/A

Made his much-awaited return to action replacing Asensio in the 77th minute. Looked bright in spurts, had a few nice moments of link-up with Benzema and made two key psases.

Antonio Blanco: N/A

On for Modric with less than fifteen minutes left.

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