After struggling to dominate games against their city rivals for the last few seasons, Real Madrid did just that in an extremely one-sided encounter at the Santiago Bernabéu – and yet, the result failed to reflect their superiority. Even with their lethal counter-attacking approach, Atlético mustered up only a handful of chances in the entirety of the game as they were clearly unsettled by the home side’s consistent pressure. Los Blancos failed to add to their tally as the game went on, and it came back to haunt them as Simeone’s men converted a late opportunity to level the game and earn a valuable point.
The first-half began at an incredibly high tempo and the home side swarmed forward in numbers whenever they had the ball. A terrific save from Jan Oblak denied Benzema early on in the game and it seemed to be a matter of time before the deadlock was broken. However, Atlético sat back in typically resolute fashion and managed to keep the game scoreless going into the interval – something which inevitably frustrated Zidane based on the run of the play.
Not long after the restart, Real were rewarded for their determination as Pepe headed home from a Toni Kroos free-kick to give his side the advantage. The Portuguese defender was clearly delighted, but had to be substituted shortly after with broken ribs – the result of a nasty collision with Kroos. Another brilliant chance game Madrid’s way when Ronaldo managed to beat Oblak, only to be denied brilliantly by Stefan Savic on the goal-line. Zidane’s men took their foot off the pedal as the game wore on, and it allowed Atlético to sneak back into contention. Griezmann levelled for his side in the 85th minute after latching onto Correa’s through ball, leaving their opposition very little time to muster up a response.
It wasn’t the first time that Real have come away empty-handed from a game due to missed chances – and a more clinical approach will have to be instilled if they are to navigate themselves past a difficult month. Their next test will be a midweek Champions League encounter against Bayern Munich in Germany, with their tactics in the return leg likely to be influenced by how well they can perform away from home. The infamous BBC trident will have to improve in particular as their team needs them to perform more than ever; and their goal-scoring potential will have to be utilised if this season is to end positively on all fronts.