It could have made a dream start for Los Colchoneros in the first Madrid derby at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday night. Real Madrid had a massive let-off after just three minutes following a sloppy pass from Marcelo. Antoine Griezmann latched onto the loose ball which eventually found its way to Angel Correa, one-on-one with Kiko Casilla, but Atleti’s top goalscorer was only able to clip the ball wide from 12 yards.
In our preview, we outlined the best chances would be created from wide areas. This was certainly the case for both sides. For Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo and Isco on the left created openings. Correa created chances for Atletico on the right hand side early on but his influence quickly diminished.
Correa was certainly in the midst of the action in the opening stages. In the 18th minute he smashed the ball onto Karim Benzema’s head after the Frenchman was fouled. The Argentine received a yellow card for the incident. Whether it was intentional or not, is not clear. Judging by his earlier shot, however, probably not.
The width of the play was surprising and made space for Isco to take control of the ball in a typical number 10’s position. By dropping to get involved with play, Benzema was able to create space in behind. Ronaldo’s movement was not up to scratch in the first half within these spaces and Isco was unable to find him as a result.
After receiving the ball from a cleared corner, Marcelo clipped the ball into the box where Sergio Ramos remained in the attacking area. Casemiro headed the ball toward Ramos but he was unable to put it the right side of the post. In the process, Ramos received a face full of Lucas’ boot and suffered a fractured nose and was taken off for Nacho at half time.
The quality of Spanish refereeing came into question again on Saturday at the Wanda Metropolitano. Atletico could have seen two red cards in the first half alone. Savic’s tackle on Toni Kroos was a dangerous effort and planted his studs onto the German’s leg. Lucas could easily have seen red also for booting Sergio Ramos’ face. There were also two strong appeals for penalty’s by Real Madrid. Both teams started the second half like the start of the match however; with 11 players and the scoreboard showing 0-0.
Real Madrid’s attacking threat in the opening stages of the second half was very similar to the first. The majority of their effective play came through Isco on the left hand side. With Correa seemingly carefree about defending and Juanfran’s defending coming into question recently, Zidane must have marked this as an area to attack. As a result, Modric playing on the right hand side of midfield was less influential in the first half but this .
Atletico struggled to create openings in the opening stages of the second half as Real controlled the majority of play. Atleti continued to play as they have in their recent games, defending deep. They did get the ball in good attacking positions at times but similar to Real in the first half, were unable to find a team mate in the box.
Atletico’s move to bring on Carrasco improved them in the second half. They attacked largely down their left hand side with Lucas able to ghost into the attacking third at will.
Asensio took the place of Benzema after a second half where anything he attempted failed. The home ‘supporters’ gleefully whistled at Griezmann as he made his way off after an uninfluential Madrid Derby. In his place, Fernando Torres took to the field along with Kevin Gameiro coming on for Angel Correa.
Torres and Gameiro linked up almost straight away having come on. Gameiro clipped the ball passed Casilla and appeared to be going over the line only for Varane to head away.
The last 15 minutes of the game saw Real create a number of chances. Oblak was ready to save these chances however, including a Ronaldo free from 25 yards on the left hand side along with a Toni Kroos shot from distance. The best chance saw Ronaldo take the ball on the right hand side inside the box.
A lack of penetration from either side saw this game go to an inevitable 0-0 draw; the first in a Madrid derby since May 2005. Isco, along with Casemiro were the two standout players in this game where the overall quality was lacking. Atletico’s defence performed well and kept Los Blancos at bay.
The real winners were of course Barcelona who go 10 points clear of both Madrid clubs.