Atletico Madrid emerged the deserved winners as they beat Real Madrid at home in what was the sixth derby of the season.
Diego Simeonea s Atletico Madrid have already proved to the world that they are not just another underdogs. The other team in Madrid are definitely one of the most dangerous teams in not just Spain but entire Europe. Atletico, who narrowly missed the chance of winning their first Champions League title, are still out their serving revenge to Real Madrid, who won the European competition in extra time. Led by Simeonea s magnificent tactics, Atletico have outdone Real Madrid for the fourth time this season and this time they left nothing for Real Madrid to be positive about.
First Half Analysis
Real Madrid were a depleted side in the derby playing without Ramos, Pepe, Modric, Marcelo and James Rodriguez. They had also come into this game with little time to rest having played Sevilla just three days prior to the derby. The effects showed as Atletico started the game on song while Real Madrid looked clueless and unsettled from the start. Atletico were fluid in their passing and were applying pressure on Real Madrid and also maintaining very a strong agenda while man-marking their opponents. The misery for Real Madrid started to take shape in just 14 minutes as captain Iker Casillas made a blunder when Tiagoa s shot from just outside the box took a slight deflection off Nacho and went right through Ikera s arms to give Atletico an early lead. Real Madrid, yet again, managed to succumb to early pressure created by their opponents. Conceding the first goal gave Atletico a boost in their confidence as they easily played out the away side and Real Madrid were struggling to get a grip on the game. Soon enough, Atletico exploited Real Madrida s defence yet again as former Real Madrid youth product Saul scored the most beautiful goal of the night. From the left, Siqueira crossed the ball into Saul, who was barely marked, for the midfielder to score off a bicycle kick. Real Madrid enjoyed a bit of control and a lot of possession in the last 15 minutes of the first half. But a Los Blancosa failed to create anything as Atletico Madrid went into half-time with a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Second Half Analysis
The second half started with Ancelotti trying to shake things up by introducing Jes for Sami Khedira. A move that bore no results as Atletico had their plan in place and executed it to perfection. Real Madrid midfielders Toni Kroos and Isco tried to get the better of their opponents but the Atletico juggernaut was too good to be beaten. From the beginning of the second half, France international Antoine Griezmann was giving the Real Madrid defenders a tough time. After missing a few good chances, Griezmann finally got his reward in the 67th minute as he tapped in from close range to make it 3-0. The third goal just proved how lack of experience in the defence had badly affected Real Madrid throughout the game. After that, Atletico decided to take their foot off the gas and give Real Madrid a bit of time on the ball. However, Real Madrid could do nothing as Atleticoa s defence remained as alert as ever and they were doing a great job off the ball keeping Bale, Benzema and Ronaldo at bay. Atletico then added to Real Madrida s misery as just minutes before the end of the match, Mario Mandzukic scored the fourth goal of the night for Rojiblancos. Mandzukic met Fernando Torresa cross from the right to head home and finish off a night Atletico Madrid fans will like to remember for a long time.
Real Madrid seem to be just losing their mojo at a very vital time in the season. The game against Atletico was important for Ancelottia s men to keep themselves on the right track in the title race. However, Ronaldo and co. are still at the top of the league table and if they manage to get their act together, they still have it in them to win the league. Atletico Madrid meanwhile have gained a very big advantage over their local rivals. The win means that the top spot is just within four points for Atletico Madrid and the head-to-head is taken care of, if at all both the Madrid teams end the season level on points.
Image courtesy: en.clubatleticodemadrid.com