It wasn't pretty, but Real Madrid earned another victory over Atlético, as usual. Mourinho decided to line up López, Essien, Albiol, Carvalho, Nacho, Khedira, Pepe, Morata, Kaká, Di María and Benzema against Atlético's starters, but his team ended up getting the three points anyway.
Carvalho and Albiol defended Diego Costa and Falcao really well. Both Atlético strikers are causing havoc in La Liga, but both of Real's bench warmers prevented them from influencing the game a lot. Falcao found a way to score in the third minute anyway after a really strange set piece designed by Simeone. The Argentinian coach left four or five Atlético players in offside position to pick the ball after López's save. Unfortunately for Madrid, Nacho fell asleep and let one player onside. Falcao only had to push it to the back of the net.
Referee Pérez Lasa decided to control the game in a very strange way. Real Madrid had three players with yellow cards in the first 20 minutes, but only Khedira deserved to have one, probably. This trend continued and the referee completed a very awful game overall. His mistakes were somewhat balanced, though, so neither team should complain much.
Benzema was invisible throughout the whole match but his assist in Real's second goal gave his team the win, simply put. Real Madrid had a lack of playmakers and Kaká tried to help Khedira and Pepe a little bit, but Real's number 8 wasn't very fortunate. Neither was Álvaro Morata. The canterano played with effort all night long and Nacho should be thankful, but he should've performed better offensively.
As Karanka confirmed in press conference, Pepe and Khedira were chosen to stop Atlético's intensity, and both of them were successful at that task. Costa, Falcao, Gabi and Adrián (who joined the game later) were never comfortable against Real Madrid's two midfielders.
Mourinho decided to introduce Xabi Alonso just after Real Madrid's second goal. Khedira then took a more box-to-box role that allowed his team to press a little bit higher on the pitch. The German player gave a really good effort and he will now need to recover for Real Madrid's miraculous try at a comeback against Borussia Dortmund.
Essien played 70 minutes after recovering from his injury and then let Varane the right back position. Both players did well there, but Essien should have the edge in the Champions League fixture. Same goes for Gonzalo Higuaín, who rested on the bench while Benzema saw 90 minutes of action.
All eyes will be on the Santiago Bernabéu this upcoming Tuesday. Luckily enough for los blancos, Ronaldo, Özil, Higuaín, Ramos and Coentrao had a good chance to rest and thus be fully prepared to score three goals against Dortmund. The German team rested the starters as well.