Atletico and Real share spoils in a 1-1 draw in the Madrid derby
In the past few seasons, the Madrid derby has been an even battle as Atlético have grown into a resolute and stronger team to beat. The last two La Liga fixtures between Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid ended up with Real losing both of them, losing 0-4 at the Vicente Calderon last season and losing 1-2 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Madrid were boosted by the return of Sergio Ramos, who made the starting line-up and Gareth Bale, who made the bench. Madrid continue to miss out on the services of Colombian James Rodriguez owing to injury.
Fernando Torres made his 200th La Liga appearance and went into the match hoping to score his 100th goal for Atletico Madrid in the La Liga. Cristiano Ronaldo went into the game chasing yet another record – of overtaking Raul's 323 goals to become the highest goalscorer for Real Madrid.
Atlético Madrid: Oblak; Juanfran, Giménez de Vargas, Godín, Filipe Luis; Griezmann, Gabi, Tiago, Oliver Torres; Correa, Fernando Torres.
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kross, Casemiro, Modric; Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.
First Half: Benzema gives Real Madrid a deserved lead
Real started the game on a positive note attacking with intent, Ronaldo going close with a header in the 3rd minute. Their efforts paid off when Carvajal eased past Filipe Luis and sent in a brilliant cross, which was headed in very well by Karim Benzema in the 9th minute.
Angel Correa, Atlético's promising 20-year-old striker, went close with a couple chances in the following ten minutes, but could not find the finishing touch.
In the 21st minute, a reckless challenge from Sergio Ramos in the penalty box gave some lifeline to Atletico. Griezmann, the in-form player for Atlético, stepped up to take the spot-kick, but Keylor Navas had other ideas and saved brilliantly to push it out for a corner.
Carvajal, who was looking threatening on the right wing, had to leave the pitch in the 40th minute after a tackle from Oliver Torres. Arbeloa came on as a substitute to make his first league appearance this season.
Second Half: Atletico make their way back into the game
Atletico made a change at half-time by bringing on Yannick Carrasco in place of Oliver Torres.
The second half began with the game opening up and both teams attacking alternately as a result. Ronaldo went close for Real and Correa and Fernando Torres went close for Atletico.
In the 58th minute, Correa was brought off by Diego Simeone and brought on new signing Luciano Vietto. This was a strange move as Fernando Torres was looking much more ineffective than the ever-lively Angel Correa.
Casemiro became the seventh player to go into the book for a rash tackle in the 61st minute. Simeone made the much-needed substitution by taking off Torres and bringing on Jackson Martinez in the 64th minute.
Isco came off in the 66th minute to allow Bale to make a league appearance after missing out on three games because of a calf injury, thus giving Real Madrid the familiar attacking lineup of Bale-Benzema-Ronaldo.
A dull ten minutes was followed by a couple of chances for the rivals – Ronaldo hitting the side-netting and Martinez's cross stopped by Navas before it could reach an Atletico player.
Goalscorer Benzema was taken off in the 77th minute and Mateo Kovacic was brought on. Benzema did not look very happy with his manager's decision.
Atletico started showing signs of coming back into the game with Vietto going close in the 81st minute with a header, which he probably should have taken better after Carrasco sent in an excellent cross.
Atletico got yet another yellow card when Griezmann became the fifth player to go into the book as the home team kept pushing for an equaliser.
The Calderon came to life in the 83rd minute when Jackson Martinez sent a low cross into the danger, which should have been dealt better by Navas; the ball fell kindly for Vietto to score his first Atletico goal with ease.
In the last five minutes of regulation time, the tackles started flying in with both teams trying to go for that elusive winning goal.
Martinez came the closest to scoring when his well-struck shot was saved by Navas’ strong hand in the 91st minute. A minute later, Varane came to Real's rescue when he headed the ball clear.
Both the teams could not add to their tally before the final whistle, and a draw was probably a fair result.
Real Madrid move into second position, one point behind leaders Villareal, while Atletico move up to fifth place and three points off the top. Real will possibly feel that they should have won the game with important players like Ramos and Bale making comebacks from injuries. Their league record against Atletico remain intact as they fail to beat their city rivals for the third consecutive time.
Watch the match highlights here: