Toni Kroos stood out but Luis Suarez disappointed as Real Madrid secured an important victory over cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid in El Derbi on Saturday.

Real Madrid earned themselves a huge boost in the La Liga title race by beating league leaders Atletico Madrid 2-0 at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano on Saturday.

The Spanish champions looked like the better side right from the beginning, putting pressure on Atleti’s defence and capitalising on their poor performance. They did, however, find the opener in an unlikely manner as Casemiro scored from a set-piece delivered by Toni Kroos, with the Atletico Madrid defence completely switching off.

A poor first half display prompted Diego Simeone to make three changes at half-time, switching to a traditional back four. Unfortunately, things did not change for the better and Los Colcheneros ended up ruing Thomas Lemar’s miss in the 55th minute as Dani Carvajal netted Real Madrid’s second of the night just past the hour mark, though it was attributed as an own goal from Jan Oblak.

Atletico Madrid continued to struggle in creating clear-cut opportunity during the final phase of the game, eventually slumping to a 2-0 defeat away from home. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the contrasting performances of the two teams following this highly fascinating encounter between two of Spain’s biggest sides.

Real Madrid

Thibaut Courtois: 7/10

Courtois did not have to do anything for large parts of the game. He was called into action once late and he responded brilliantly by keeping out Saul Niguez’s header.  A well-deserved clean sheet for the Real Madrid goalkeeper.

Dani Carvajal: 8.5/10

Dani Carvajal marked his return to the starting lineup with a remarkable performance at right-back. He provided the offensive support going forward while netting Real Madrid’s second with a thumping effort from outside the box.

Raphael Varane: 7.5/10

Following a string of poor performances, Raphael Varane seems to be at home now with the return of Sergio Ramos. The Frenchman was solid in dealing with Luis Suarez, barely allowing any space for the ex-Barcelona attacker.

Sergio Ramos: 7.5/10

Ramos led from the front as he always does, showcasing his brilliant positioning sense and aggression to keep the likes of Joao Felix and Suarez at bay. The Spaniard broke a record as well by making the most number of appearances in the Madrid derby.

Ferland Mendy: 7/10

Ferland Mendy justified his selection over Marcelo by putting in a great shift at left-back. He remained strong in dealing with the threat of Felix and Kieran Trippier, although the Frenchman did lose possession on more than one occasion.

Luka Modric: 8/10

There were question marks over Luka Modric’s fitness as he started in a third successive match within a week. However, the Real Madrid playmaker barely showed any signs of weaknesses and looked sharp with his passes and offensive endeavours.

Casemiro: 8/10

Casemiro looked sloppy during the early stages of the game but the goal in the 15th minute lifted his confidence. What followed was a typical performance from the Brazilian, who remained solid at the base of Real Madrid’s 4-3-3, denying any freedom to the opposing midfielders while winning most of the loose balls in the middle of the park.

Toni Kroos: 9/10

Toni Kroos was evidently the best performing midfielder for Real Madrid in this game. The German provided the cross that led to Casemiro’s opener. He also expertly rotated possession, making it difficult for Atletico Madrid to press effectively and win the ball in the middle of the park.

Lucas Vazquez: 7.5/10

Lucas Vazquez repaid his manager’s faith by putting up an excellent display at right wing. He was often a threat for the Atletico Madrid defence with his direct runs on the flanks, thus disrupting the overall solidity of Simeone’s side. The Spaniard certainly deserves to start in the coming matches.

Karim Benzema: 8/10

Karim Benzema looked like a menace right from the beginning, notably forcing a magnificent save from Jan Oblak early on. The Frenchman may not have found the back of the net but his work rate was essential in maintaining the pressure on the Atletico Madrid defence throughout the course of the game.

Vinicius Junior: 7.5/10

Vinicius Junior troubled the Atleti defence with his mazy runs and pace that made life difficult for the likes of Trippier and Stefan Savic; so it was another useful performance from the Brazilian.

SUBSTITUTES

Rodrygo: N/A

A late replacement for Vinicius. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Marco Asensio: N/A

A late replacement for Carvajal. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Federico Valverde: N/A

A late replacement for Modric. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Atletico Madrid

Jan Oblak: 7/10

Made an excellent save to deny Benzema early in the game but had no chance of saving Casemiro or Carvajal’s effort. A rare game without a clean sheet for the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper.

Stefan Savic: 6.5/10

Savic could have taken better measures in taking better care of Benzema. He was, however, solid for the most part, but it was not enough to prevent Real Madrid from scoring two goals.

Felipe: 5/10

Failed to establish a strong connection with Savic at the heart of the Atletico Madrid defence and was effectively subbed off at half-time as Simeone switched to a back four.

Mario Hermoso: 5/10

The former Real Madrid player struggled to impose his authority in this game, losing the ball way too often. His overall performance was far from convincing as Vazquez provided quite a threat from his side.

Kieran Trippier: 6/10

Trippier provided some useful forward balls early in the proceedings. Unfortunately, the Englishman was pegged back in his own half for the most part in the game.

Marcos Llorente: 7/10

Marcos Llorente was the liveliest player for Atletico Madrid as the midfielder tried his best to spark things up in the final third. The former Real Madrid midfielder’s link-up with Trippier was decent, but it failed to yield anything of note.

Koke: 5/10

Koke was anonymous for large parts of the game, offering very little to prevent the Real Madrid midfielders from dominating the proceedings. Also had very little opportunity in trying to influence the game while on the ball.

Hector Herrera: 4/10

Hector Herrera may have been culpable for the first goal as he slipped while marking Casemiro. The Mexican showcased his error-prone nature and was simply not good enough. Should not have started ahead of Saul.

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco: 4/10

Carrasco showed glimpses of his talents at times. He was, however, very inconsistent while lacking the work rate necessary to make an impact against a team of Real Madrid’s calibre.

Joao Felix: 6.5/10

Real Madrid did well to minimise the threat of Joao Felix by doubling down on the Portuguese youngster. So it was a frustrating evening for the Atleti attacker, who simply did not have any sort of support in the final third.

Luis Suarez: 3/10

A disappointing display from Suarez, who could have done much in offering more incisive moments in the final third. The ex-Liverpool striker did nothing all game.

SUBSTITUTES

Renan Lodi: 5/10

Renan Lodi offered some much-needed width in the Atletico Madrid attack, but his offensive endeavours were not clinical enough to unsettle the Real Madrid backline.

Thomas Lemar: 4/10

Missed an excellent opportunity to equalise for Atletico Madrid just before the hour mark. It won’t serve him well as the Frenchman is already lacking confidence.

Angel Correa: 5/10

Angel Correa failed to provide any real threat to the home side after being introduced at the start of the second half.

Saul Niguez: 5/10

Replaced Felix at the stroke of the hour mark, with Atleti conceding right after his introduction. The Spaniard should have started ahead of Herrera at the beginning of the match.

Geoffrey Kondogbia: 5/10

Replaced Suarez during the final phase of the game to offer more protection in midfield.

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