SEVILLE (REUTERS) - Real Madrid failed to build on last week's 'Clasico' victory as they lost 2-1 at Real Betis in a fiery match on Sunday (March 8) and surrendered top spot in La Liga to Barcelona.
The defeat leaves Real second on 56 points after 27 games, two behind Barca who beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Saturday to regain first place a week after losing 2-0 at the Bernabeu.
Betis went ahead in the 40th minute after a moment of confusion as they appealed for a penalty when Sergio Ramos collided into Nabil Fekir but the loose ball landed at the feet of defender Sidnei who rifled it into the roof of the net.
The Brazilian's joy was cut short when he was penalised for tripping Marcelo in the area and Karim Benzema converted from the spot, his first goal in seven matches in all competitions.
Betis captain Joaquin missed an open goal early in the second half but his side, fired up by a scorching atmosphere in a packed Benito Villamarin, eventually restored their lead in the 82nd minute through former Barca forward Cristian Tello.