MADRID: Jude Bellingham continued his remarkable start at Real Madrid by scoring his 16th goal in 18 games – but it was not enough to earn the La Liga leaders victory over Betis.

England midfielder Bellingham, 20, slotted in after controlling a delightful pass from Brahim Diaz over the Betis defence after 53 minutes.

But Aitor Ruibal hit a stunning equaliser from outside the area.

It means Girona can go top with victory at third-placed Barcelona on Sunday.

Bellingham, who last month became the first player to score in each of his first four Champions League appearances for Real, now has 12 goals and two assists in 14 La Liga appearances.

The former Birmingham City player has continued to shine for the Spanish giants since moving to the Bernabeu in a 103m euros (£88m) deal from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

Not only has he dictated games from midfield for Carlo Ancelotti’s side, but he is the club’s top scorer this season by some distance – with Brazil winger Rodrygo closest on nine goals in all competitions.

Diaz picked out Bellingham’s run into the box with a clever scooped pass and his team-mate’s superb control with his chest set him up for a simple finish.

But Ruibal responded in emphatic fashion 13 minutes later to prevent Real opening a four-point advantage at the top of the table.

“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,” Ancelotti said.

“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.”