Karim Benzema scored the decider, as Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 1-0 in the Madrid derby at Santiago Bernabeu to make a clear lead ahead of Barcelona in La Liga.
Atletico Madrid dominated in First Half
Atletico started quite well and they dominated in the first half. Real defenders and captain Ramos had some defending during this time. At 18th minute, they reacted sharply to clear Madrid’s lines after Thibaut Courtois had kept out Vitolo’s strike.
Courtois was beaten soon after, yet Angel Correa’s effort clipped the upright, before Casemiro was fortunate his desperate lunge on Alvaro Morata did not lead to a penalty.
Real Madrid comeback in Second Half
Zidane changed formation after the break, introducing Vinicius and Lucas Vazquez in place of Toni Kroos and Isco, moving Federico Valverde inside and the decision almost paid immediate impact as the Uruguayen forced Jan Oblak into a fine save with a superb long-range effort.
Zidane’s changes proved to be decisive in the 56th minute, as Vinicius drawing three Atletico defenders in before releasing a superb through pass for Ferland Mendy, whose cross just needed to be tapped in by Benzema.
Real could have won by more with half-time substitute Vinicius Jr forcing two saves from Jan Oblak. Zidane’s experiment of playing Valverde in a wide role in the first half was a failure, but the Frenchman spotted his mistake. Vinicius Jr came on, adding width, pace and skill to Real Madrid’s attack and, ultimately, played a pivotal role in Real Madrid win.
Real vs Atletico – What the result means
Fifth-placed Atletico, who have not won in five games, were disappointing, although Angel Correa hit the post. Atletico’s defeat leaves them 13 points behind Los Blancos and they have to concentrate in securing Champions League qualification. Despite plenty of money having been invested for the current squad, it seems Diego Simeone’s influence is not bringing results for the Atletico madrid.
Zinedine Zidane’s side are now unbeaten in 21 games and have won eight in a row – including a penalty shootout success over Atletico in the Spanish Super Cup.
Gareth Bale was left out of the squad but Zidane has said that he is going to count on Bale’s contribution in this season.
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