Real Madrid had to settle for a draw in the Madrid Derby after Antoine Griezmann cancelled out Pepe’s opener
Atletico threatened Real Madrid early on and had the better share of opportunities, with Antoine Griezmann even hitting the post for an effort that was eventually ruled offside. Madrid tested Jan Oblak a few times before Stefan Savic pulled off one of the best goal-line clearances in recent times from a Cristiano Ronaldo effort.
Madrid then took the lead from a brilliantly taken header by Pepe before Fernando Torres should really have done better after being clean through on goal, only for Keylor Navas to pull off a fine save.
It was that man again, Antoine Griezmann, who ghosted past the Real Madrid defense in the 87th minute and pulled off a fine finish to level the scores. It was a fair scoreline in the end and one that Atletico would definitely have been happier with. We take a look at the key talking points from the match.
Griezmann steps up again
Antoine Griezmann has already earned a reputation as a big-game player thanks to several of his important goals for both Atletico Madrid as well as the French national team and he only added to that already-burgeoning reputation last night.
The Frenchman was typically energetic and heavily involved in all of Atletico’s attack moves and his mentality in the big games to keep his head up and fight till the end was on display when he showed great awareness to sneak into space towards the end of the match.
His finish was typically clinical and once again, Griezmann’s brilliance had rescued points for Atletico Madrid in a huge match. Atletico fans will be fervently praying that their talisman stays with the club at the end of the season.
— 👑 (@riho_chau) April 8, 2017
Atletico starting to look stronger with every match
Atletico Madrid have had a slightly indifferent season by their standards under Diego Simeone and the visitors are slowly starting to look like they are back to their style of play and are quickly becoming more recognisable as the Atletico from the previous seasons.
They defended compactly, patiently waited out Madrid’s possession game and hit Madrid with several effective counter attacks, something they thrived upon in the big matches that led to two UEFA Champions League finals and a La Liga title.
Despite having just 38.7% possession and having 10 shots compared to Madrid’s 20 according to Whoscored, Atletico had 4 shots on target compared to Madrid’s 6 and managed to draw the match in the end. Typical efficiency from a Simeone team.
Pepe makes an impact at the right time
Pepe missed a big part of Real Madrid’s season through injury but returned at the right time, just as the title race started heating up and Madrid needed all hands on deck. Last night’s match was one of the most important of Madrid’s season and Pepe stepped up at just the right time.
The Portuguese centre-back put in a man of the match performance last night and scored Madrid’s all-important goal. He was also solid in defense and after being subbed off thanks to an unfortunate kick from teammate Toni Kroos, Madrid looked instantly shakier at the back.
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) April 8, 2017
Madrid’s defence still needs work
Despite having the lion’s share of possession, Real Madrid were threatened several times by Atletico Madrid over the course of the match. At times, their midfield failed them but the defense failed to track runners several times on Saturday night.
Lose the #ElClasico and we are done. Zidane needs to sort out the defence
— 21stcenturyhumanist (@senkeykpo) April 8, 2017
Zinedine Zidane’s tactical flexibility has been rightly praised on several occasions this season but the Frenchman has to address Madrid’s defensive issues if they want to continue to grow as a side and successfully push for titles this season.
Jan Oblak brilliant once more
Jan Oblak put in another brilliant performance for Atletico Madrid last night in a crucial fixture. The 24-year old Slovenian international pulled off several incredible saves to keep Ronaldo and co. at bay, even though Stefan Savic’s awesome goal-line clearance took the plaudits.
If United lose De Gea, I want Jan Oblak to replace him. #RMAvsATM
— ATLRedDevil (@rgsreddevil) April 8, 2017
Oblak made 4 saves and 2 claims on Saturday night and Madrid fans everywhere were furious at the goalkeeper’s heroics. Atletico owe a lot to Oblak for the result last night and will be hoping the 24-year old stays at the club for years to come.