VAR decisive in Real Madrid’s win against Real Betis

BARCELONA, SPAIN (AP) — Real Madrid had good reason to approve of the video assistant referee yesterday.

A handball that had gone unnoticed on the field was spotted by the VAR near the end of Madrid’s match at Real Betis, sending Sergio Ramos to the spot to convert an 82nd-minute penalty and take a 3-2 victory in Seville.

The review revealed that Betis defender Marc Bartra hit the ball with his arm during a brush with Madrid substitute Borja Mayoral in the area. It seemed that Mayoral’s attempt to kick the ball pushed Bartra’s arm into the ball.

Manuel Pellegrini, Betis’ new coach and former Madrid manager, said he had no problem with the refereeing.

Madrid played with an extra man from the 67th when Betis defender Emerson was red-carded for fouling Luka Jovic with only the goalkeeper to beat.

The referee’s decision was also aided by video. Karim Benzema, the heart of Madrid’s title run last season, set up Federico Valverde for the 14th-minute opener, and pressured Emerson into scoring an own goal while trying to defend a dangerous cross to the French striker to make it 2-2. Benzema also had a strike that hit the crossbar and almost crossed the goal-line.

Aissa Mandi and William Carvalho scored for a Betis that won its first two matches under Pellegrini. Midfielder Sergio Canales provided key passes in both Betis goals.

Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema, and Real Betis’ Guido Rodriguez and William Carvalho during the Spanish league football match at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Seville. PHOTO: AFP