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Five takeaways from Real Madrid's 0-0 draw against Atlético de Madrid

A thrilling game that left all the suspense for the second leg.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

  1. If Los Blancos are able to repeat their first half in the Bernabéu, they should move on to the semifinals. Just like they did against Barcelona in their last league game, our players were able to command the first half, and only an outstanding demeanor by Oblak let Atlético get to the break alive. This served them to prove to themselves that they have the tools to be superior to Atlético de Madrid, and with the help of the Bernabéu and a slight increase in their accuracy, they should be able to repeat it next week to achieve a better result.

  2. Varane's presence in the starting XI was a pleasant surprise. When the lineup was released, almost everyone agreed that Pepe would be missed, as Varane suffers a lot in physical duels against Mandzukic-type strikers. However, Rafa left a fantastic performance, winning two thirds of his aerial duels, procuring three important interceptions and only committing a foul throughout the whole game.

  3. Marcelo's yellow card will decisively influence the second leg. The Brazilian is, arguably, Real Madrid's most creative player, and his ban will clearly diminish our offensive options next week. Fabio Coentrao, who has only taken part in eleven games this season, will need to take a step forward and fill Marcelo's shoes in a very complicated scenario, but at this time we should know that April is his favorite month. Still, he will never be able to give Real Madrid Marcelo's chaotic raids to the middle and his tempo to keep the possession, so perhaps using Isco in James' spot would make sense to compensate.

  4. Ronaldo's performance seemed to have been negatively affected by the boos from the Calderón. I understand that Ronaldo is released from any defensive duty in order to maximize his offensive output, which is good for the team. However, that does not mean that his own goal is the only thing he should be fighting for, and that is what he seemed to be doing last night, at least at certain phases of the game. Atlético de Madrid fans booed him every time he got ahold of the ball, and that seemed to worsen his decision-making and raise his fury, which would have only been cooled down with a new "calma".

  5. Real Madrid's bench is not powerful enough to make the team react at Champions League level. Isco is the only top-quality backup player Real Madrid has, and last night his entrance did not upgrade the team at all, as the 4-4-2 formation became totally predictable for Simeone's men. A non-retired Khedira, a tank-type striker or a fit Pepe would have been good options for Real Madrid to control the last fifteen minutes, which Atlético took for themselves thanks to their substitutions.

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