Real Betis vs. Real Madrid: Team News, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 14:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his sides second goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at Bernabeu on February 14, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Real Madrid's focus will shift back to La Liga on Sunday after their midweek heroics in the UEFA Champions League, as they visit Real Betis.

Los Blancos, after a season of struggle, were brilliant in their 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, putting in the type of display that can turn campaigns around. Manager Zinedine Zidane will want to keep positive momentum building in Andalusia.

Betis are far from straightforward opponents, though, as they sit in eighth, just four points off fifth place. Quique Setien's side also earned a historic win against Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this season.

Read on for the key viewing details for the game, the latest team news and a preview of what promises to be an entertaining encounter at the Estadio Benito Villamarin.

         

Date: Sunday, February 18

Time: 7:45 p.m. (GMT)/2:45 p.m. (ET)

TV Info: Sky Sports Football (UK), beIN Sports (U.S.)

Live Stream: Sky Go (UK), beIN Sports Connect (U.S.)

        

Team News

Real Betis: Setien will still be without Joel Campbell and Antonio Sanabria, who are both long-term absentees. Defender Zouhair Feddal is set to miss the rest of the season.

Likely XI: Antonio Adan; Francis, Aissa Mandi, Marc Bartra, Jordi Amat, Junior Firpo; Joaquin, Andres Guardado, Fabian Ruiz; Ryad Boudebouz, Loren Moron

Real Madrid: Given the effort exerted against PSG on Wednesday, Zidane is likely to make a number of changes for this one to freshen the side up. The manager has no major injury concerns following the Champions League showdown.

Likely XI: Keylor Navas,; Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Toni Kroos, Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric; Marco Asensio, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale

      

Preview

Betis players celebrate a goal during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF against Real Betis  at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / GABRIEL BOUYS        (Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Get
AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Real Madrid's 2017-18 term has been full of false starts, although the win over PSG did point towards a possible strong finish to the campaign.

Los Blancos didn't produce a stunning performance to win 3-1, rather they became the Madrid they've been so often under Zidane—they saw out tough moments, stayed composed, and when chances did materialise, they took them.

Cristiano Ronaldo is obviously vital to that, and the Portuguese is now back in a brilliant goalscoring groove having been short of his best at times this season.

As noted by James Robson of the Manchester Evening News, he's still been putting the ball in the net frequently:

While the Champions League will obviously command the focus of Madridistas between now and the end of the campaign, it's important they stay focused on the job at hand in La Liga, too.

After all, Zidane's men sit in fourth position, and while they have a five-point buffer to Villarreal in fifth, any slip-ups here will have some looking nervously over their shoulder—especially should the focus change in full to European commitments towards the end of the campaign.

Asensio (right) helped Madrid past PSG.
Asensio (right) helped Madrid past PSG.Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The Madrid manager will surely make some changes here, and one man who may have forced himself into contention is Asensio, who helped swing the match against PSG in Real's favour when he came on as a late substitute.

The youngster has been in and out of the side this season, although journalist David Cartlidge praised his ability to make an impression from the bench:

Madrid will need another measured mindset at Betis, as they're a team capable of upsetting the best teams in Spain.

They showcased as much earlier in the campaign, as they stunned the Santiago Bernabeu with a remarkable 94th-minute winner from Sanabria. From what we've seen this season from the Andalusians, they are unlikely to sit deep and let Madrid have things their own way.

Away from home, Los Blancos haven't been free-flowing lately, with just one win secured in their last five in La Liga. And while spirits will be high following their PSG win, Betis have the belief and vibrancy to upset the rhythm of the champions.

       

Prediction: Real Betis 2-2 Real Madrid

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