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Real Madrid held by Betis before Champions League final

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MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid’s regular starters were held by Real Betis to 0-0 on Friday in the team’s last match before the Champions League final.

Madrid began with the team that is expected to face Liverpool on May 28 in Paris, where it will try to win a record-extending 14th European title.

Madrid won the Spanish league weeks ago and coach Carlo Ancelotti had been rotating the squad, but he put his best on the field against Betis to fine-tune them ahead of the trip to France next week.

At halftime, Ancelotti replaced Casemiro with Eduardo Camavinga and Toni Kroos with Federico Valverde. Later in the second half he rested Luka Modric, Rodrygo and Ferland Mendy.

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Since clinching its record-extending 35th league title, Madrid eliminated Manchester City in the semifinals of the Champions League before routing Levante 6-0 and drawing at Cádiz 1-1.

The draw left Madrid 13 points ahead of second-placed Barcelona, which closes its season against seventh-placed Villarreal on Sunday.

Betis secured fifth place with the draw, its best league finish since 2005. Manuel Pellegrini’s team had already earned a spot in the second-tier Europa League by winning the Copa del Rey in a final against Valencia last month.

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Before the match, both teams did a guard of honor, with players lining up to salute the opponents for their titles.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Fans of Real Madrid hold a banner referring to the upcoming Champions League final prior to a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Betis at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Friday, May 20, 2022.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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