Soccer-Leaders Real Madrid held to 1-1 draw by Betis

Soccer Football - LaLiga - Real Betis v Real Madrid - Benito Villamarin, Seville, Spain - December 9, 2023 Real Betis' Aitor Ruibal celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

SEVILLE, Spain (Reuters) -A stunning goal from Real Betis's Aitor Ruibal cancelled out Jude Bellingham's strike for Real Madrid early in the second half to earn the home side a 1-1 draw in LaLiga on Saturday.

Real Madrid remain top of the table with 39 points, one ahead of Girona, who face third-placed Barcelona on Sunday.

"It was an even game, well played by both sides. We conceded a goal when we had the game under control but the result was fair," Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti told a news conference.

"Given the effort Betis made, they didn't deserve to lose. The result is good. We're happy because it's a tough stadium. They scored a fantastic goal. I am satisfied; you can't win every match."

Bellingham gave the visitors the lead with a fine low finish following Brahim Diaz's brilliant chipped pass on the edge of the box eight minutes after halftime.

The English midfielder reached 15 goals in 17 games across all competitions this season.

Betis bounced back in the 66th minute when Ruibal equalised with a long-range rocket into the far corner after a pass from Willian Jose on a fast break.

"I don't even have the strength to speak. We stood up to one of the best teams in the world. We're happy with the point," Ruibal told Movistar.

"I didn't think about the goal. My family always tell me that I have to shoot more. That's what confidence is all about."

The home side's Isco went close against his former team right on the 90-minute mark but his header hit the post, much to Madrid's relief.

Real Madrid travel to Union Berlin on Tuesday in the final round of the Champions League group stage, having already secured qualification to the knockout stages and the top spot in Group C.

(Reporting by Janina Nuno Rios in Mexico City; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Clare Fallon)

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