Champs Real close out LaLiga with draw

Ancelotti head Coach and Marcelo of Real Madrid CF salutes after the game during the LaLiga Santander match between Real Madrid CF and Real Betis at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 20, 2022 in Madrid, Spain.

Real Madrid have closed out their title-winning LaLiga campaign with a low-key 0-0 draw against Real Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Neither team had anything to play for and that was clear from the outset, with the match played at a sedate tempo as Madrid looked to avoid overexerting themselves ahead of next weekend's Champions League final against Liverpool.

Carlo Ancelotti named a strong line-up for the match but Los Blancos remain winless and goalless in five home league games against Betis.

Marcelo and Isco were sent on for their final appearances at the Bernabeu but it was not to be a triumphant farewell as Betis held on for a draw.

Toni Kroos fired wide after Karim Benzema's shot was blocked and Willian Jose narrowly missed the target from 20 yards after an open start to the half.

Decent openings were few and far between, but Casemiro rifled a low drive just outside the post on the stroke of halftime after charging through the middle.

Benzema volleyed straight at Rui Silva seven minutes after the restart and Rodrygo sent his follow-up wide under pressure from Marc Bartra.

Joaquin came off the bench in the 74th minute for his 600th LaLiga appearance, joining Andoni Zubizarreta (622) as the only players to reach the milestone.

The 40-year-old winger was unable to mark the occasion with a goal as he lifted an effort from the edge of the six-yard box over with three minutes remaining, but the point was enough for Betis to clinch fifth place.

Although Casemiro looked to be struggling with a minor injury during the first half, he appeared to recover before being replaced at halftime.

It may well have been a planned switch with an eye on the Champions League final, and if it was then Madrid avoided any unwanted setbacks ahead of the match in Paris.

Despite getting seven efforts away, Benzema was unable to add to his haul of 27 LaLiga goals. However, it is almost certain to be enough for him to become the first Frenchman to win the Pichichi Trophy.

Madrid will look to win a 14th Champions League/European Cup title when they take on Liverpool on Saturday week, while Betis can prepare for another season in the Europa League.

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