So where to start. The line-up seemed to be the place where most people were questioning the Italian. Why he started Illara over Modric. Well, one could see his reasoning. With the defence not proving to be relied on heavily (as was later demonstrated), and facing the highest goal-scorer in the league on the other side, alongside David Villa, one couldn't blame Carlo for putting out Illaramendi in the starting line-up. This was the Italian's first derby here at Madrid and I think one could forgive him for being on the safe side.
And so the game started. There didn't seem to be too much jitters and anxiety between the players as almost all of them were used to the derby. That was until the 10the minute. Madrid's defenders had just been able to get the ball off Atletico's possession, and after some struggle, it found its way to Di Maria's feet. Now Di Maria had 2 people on his left and one on his right. It was right on the edge of the box, so one would've thought that he would pass and move on. But no. Oh no no no!!!!....that is too simple. So he decided to use his divine skills against the opposing player to beat him. And the rest that followed is pretty much known to all.
As soon as I watched the ball hit the back of the net, I had a sort of an awkward sinking feeling. I didn't experience a feeling like that too much when watching Madrid play, because no matter who we faced, I always knew the team could find a way past them. But this was something different. We were facing a team who were top of the league with players whom knew how to leave their hearts out on the pitch. I knew the game was pretty much over. The reason for that is quite simple. Atletico today against us was like what Mourinho's Madrid was against Barca. You may remember the Copa del Rey final. Barcelona were in the prime of their success and there was a huge inferiority complex here at Madrid. But we still managed to come out with the win. The tactics were similar to those that were deployed tonight by Atletico. Knowing that opposition is better than you on the ball, there is not much choice but to sit back and hit on the counter. Madrid did just that in that game. We had 11 warriors on the field, pressing and working as if it was the last match of their lives, and concentrating fully on the objectives. This formation and gameplan proved impossible to break down. Even the 3 magicians of Barcelona couldn't thread through any passes and didn't have a sniff at the goal. And as soon as Madrid got their chance, they scored. The job after that was quite simple. Just to sit back and soak the pressure with every person doing his specific job.
You see Ancelotti had the same problem today just as Guardiola had that day. There is no plan that can work when a team is so organised and bent upon not conceding and holding up their shape. It wasn't Ancelotti's fault that Di Maria gave the ball away there and with that gave away the match. It was a dream situation for Simeone. He had got the lead, which was the difficult part, and now the team had to hold up their shape and defend stubbornly, which was the easier part. There is no way that any player could've threaded a pass through those 3 lines of defenders. Our players had no time on the ball. The only way to score was either through someone coming up with something magical or having a target man upfront to boot the ball too.
So to sum, Ancelotti quite simply was helpless in that situation. Every great team starts out from a strong back four. Madrid will need to do that as well. Many people are reading between the lines and not realising that the team we faced today isn't Elche or Getafe. This was Atletico, arguably the best team in La Liga right now with the best coach. I think many people are forgetting that. I think if it was Bayern or Barca that we had to lost to tonight, then most of you would've been quite content and patient with Carlo considering it was a big opponent. And Atletico is as big an opponent as anyone right now.