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Keylor Navas was both hero and villain during Real Madrid's 2-1 LaLiga victory over Real Betis on Sunday evening, but coach Zinedine Zidane preferred to praise his performance.

The Costa Rican goalkeeper made both an error and match-winning save in stoppage time, and could have even picked up a red card for good measure.

He was guilty of fumbling a shot into the back of his own net to give the visitors an unlikely lead at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, but was later on hand to make a full-stretch save to deny Antonio Sanabria an equaliser at the death.

"At the interval I didn't say anything to him," Zinedine Zidane said in his post-match press conference.

?"It is part of the game, he can make a mistake like everyone else.

"At the end, he saved the game for us and I, like all of the players, are still in support of Keylor.

"I didn't see the replays [for Navas' potential red card], I can't say anything about it."

Zidane was pleased to get another three points on the board, regardless of those who may criticise the nature of Real's win, and targeted improvements in open play.

"Real Madrid can score at any given moment, you have to have a cool head," he continued.

"At the end we won due to a set play, from which we are very strong, but I would like to score more goals in other ways, from open play.

"I'm sure that many are annoyed by Real Madrid, but it is normal, it's our identity and we annoy a lot of people.

"On reflection it's good because we took three points, we struggled at the end but I am happy and have to praise the players.

"We had a lot of patience and the final result is fair, there were moments that we struggled but it's normal.

"At the end of the day we are happy with the result, but the pressure within games isn't going to end here - it will remain."

Keylor Navas lucky to escape red card versus Real Betis

Darko Brasanac was chasing a long ball over the top in Sunday's game between Real Madrid and Real Betis when Keylor Navas wiped out the midfielder, a tackle that could have seen the goalkeeper dismissed.

Given that the visiting player was the last man, the Real custodian certainly didn't connect with the ball and seemed to cause Brasanac to fall to the ground just outside the area with the ball still in play.

"Brasanac is onside and the goalkeeper's challenge deserves a red card," former referee Andujar Oliver told Radio MARCA. "Mateu Lahoz's decision is a poor one."

Another incident that caught Oliver's eye was a challenge from Dani Carvajal on Antonio Sanabria after 39 minutes.

"It is a penalty as the Real defender illegally barges his opponent out the way but Mateu does not give anything," he noted.

Aytekin rectifies a controversial decision on his return after Barcelona-PSG

After his controversial refereeing performance in the Champions League clash between Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, referee Deniz Aytekin returned to his duties in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

The German oversaw Hamburg's 2-1 win against Borussia Monchengladbach, however there was another controversial moment for him to deal with.

He had given 'Gladbach' a goal but was overruled by his assistant.

After a period of consultation it was confirmed that the goal wouldn't stand, sparking furious protests.

Cristiano Ronaldo to the rescue with his head

As usual, because this is how the history of Real Madrid has been written in recent years, Cristiano Ronaldo came to the rescue with another header.

When it is not Sergio Ramos, it's almost always Ronaldo who breathes life into Los Blancos' performances; as he did again on Sunday against Real Betis, with a goal in the 39th minute after a great cross from Marcelo.

It spared Keylor Navas' blushes after the keeper had committed a huge mistake to hand the visitors the lead.

Ronaldo, clearly playing as centre-forward, scored with his third chance of the match and in so doing, he became LaLiga's top active scorer of headed goals.

It was the Portuguese's 46th, one more than the 45 headers of Athletic Club's Aritz Aduriz.

He continues to fight for the Pichichi but is currently third with 19 goals in the league.

Lionel Messi leads the way with 23 whilst his Barcelona colleague, Luis Suarez has 22 after scoring at Deportivo La Coruna earlier on Sunday.

Ronaldo Nazario: I enjoyed Barcelona's unforgettable comeback

Former World Cup winning striker Ronaldo Nazario took advantage of his trip to Madrid to discuss several football-related issues, including Barcelona's miraculous comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

The ex-Barcelona and Real Madrid forward, who has repeatedly professed his love for Los Blancos, admitted that he relished the Catalans' win on Wednesday.

"I watched it and enjoyed it," Ronaldo told Movistar+ during half-time of Real Madrid's win over Real Betis. "Every football fan enjoyed it, it was an unforgettable comeback."

Regarding Keylor Navas' mistake for the Andalusians' opening goal, the Brazilian argued that the keeper should have kept things simple.

"I think [Navas] got nervous with the bounce, once he tried to gain control of the ball he'd already lost it," said the Brazilian.

"He should have just conceded a corner."

Ronaldo concluded his appearance in front of the cameras evaluating Madrid's chances of winning trophies at the end of the 2016/17 season.

"As usual, nothing is going to come easy even if we control our [LaLiga] destiny," he noted.

"Moreover, we remain in contention for the Champions League title."

Keylor Navas: I hope to return to the good times

No one needed to tell Keylor Navas what a poor game he had, the Costa Rican stopper knew that well enough himself, but he preferred to focus on the positives in his post-match interview.

It wouldn't have surprised anyone if he had've been sent off for an appalling tackle on Betis' Brasanac, but even though referee Mateu Lahoz was incredibly lenient in the circumstances, just a couple of minutes later, Navas scooped the ball into his own net.

"I stopped the shot [from Antonio Sanabria] and when I tried to catch it, my posture was not the best," he said.

"I touched the ball with my right hand but it was bad luck, ugly.

"They are circumstances which you don't want to see but I had to keep going.

"I know my teammates trust me, and I've promised them that these things will not happen again."

On the controversial decision not to send him off, Navas was clear as to his intention.

"I tried to play the ball with my head and we collided," he continued.

"My intention was to go for the ball."

As luck would have it, deep into stoppage time at the end of the game, the keeper redeemed himself with a stunning stop from Sarabia.

"I was calm at that point," he said.

"The technical staff have confidence in me."

More clamour for a new goalkeeper in the summer, with David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois mention, is inevitable, but it won't faze Navas.

"I enter the pitch very calmly and I try to do my work," he noted.

"There are times when things do not go well but you have to keep a cool head.

"I had good and bad moments but I hope to return to good times."

Luis Enrique: Only those who've lived Barcelona's week can understand us

There was an overriding sense of Barcelona's trip to Deportivo La Coruna being after the Lord Mayor's show and coach Luis Enrique admitted that his side were not their usual selves in Galicia on Sunday afternoon.

Succumbing to two goals from set plays, the visitors were unable to reclaim the fiery, clinical nature that helped them dispel Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, instead falling to their first defeat at Estadio Riazor since 2008.

"Only those who has lived what we have experienced this week knows what it all means," stated Luis Enrique to the press. "But the professionals have to know how to deal with these situations, there will always be tough games.

"We thought that it would be difficult, a game is always affected by what has happened in the previous one.

"It is always better to go in euphoric than pessimistic."

Asked exactly what his charges were missing against Pepe Mel's side, the Asturian considered Barcelona's attack to lack the killer instinct as a number of good opportunities were spurned.

"It is a very good question, but watching us in the build up to the game, it was clear that [beating PSG] would cost us," he told reporters. "We knew so beforehand.

"I think we started well, taking advantage of Depor playing deep and trying to generate danger. We didn't have the necessary fluency to overcome their style but we were growing and ended up making mistakes.

"Today was decisive for their battle against the drop and they have achieved that. There is nothing to justify, we must accept defeat and think that there are many rounds to come. "

A win for Real Madrid will send the capital club back to the summit of LaLiga with a game spare, and Luis Enrique was left to ponder how to reverse his side's fortunes once again as the clock ticks down on the 2016/17 season.

"The final moments are the most difficult," he continued. "There is less time to think.

"We lacked that lucidity and it was a shame because I think this match was very important to continue our form and for our rivals to see how good we are, but we were blunt."

 

 
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