Real Madrid endured a frustrating afternoon at the sunny Santiago Bernabeu as city rivals Atletico held them to a 1-1 draw. Cristiano Ronaldo, fresh off his heroics on Tuesday night against Juventus, opened the scoring after 53 minutes, but the lead didn’t last long as Antoine Griezmann equalised shortly after. Real pushed for a late winner but their efforts were in vain, as they remain 4 points behind Diego Simeone’s side in the race for second place. Here’s how the players rated:
Keylor Navas 7.5- A quiet first half for Navas, in which he just had a lone Diego Costa shot to deal with. The second period saw him called into action more, with him unable to do much to prevent Antoine Griezmann’s equaliser. Made a fantastic save shortly afterwards to keep the scores level.
Dani Carvajal 7- An improved defensive performance from Carvajal, as Atleti’s narrow play offered him an easier assignment than on Tuesday night. Played well going forward, linking up nicely with Lucas Vasquez and Gareth Bale, as well as attempting 3 shots.
Raphael Varane 8- Another impeccable outing from the young centre-back, considering the task at hand. Keeping the physical Diego Costa at bay is never easy but Varane stood up to the challenge, ensuring a frustrating 90 minutes for the Atleti forward. When called upon to cover Griezmann, he handled that responsibility just as well. Won 7 aerial duels in a solid display.
Sergio Ramos 7- Harsh to blame him for the goal, considering Mateo Kovacic seemingly switched off and failed to cover Thomas Partey in the build-up. It forced Ramos to commit, thus leaving Griezmann roaming free, which led to Atleti drawing level. Unlucky not to score the winner late on after his free-kick was tipped over the bar by Jan Oblak before a header from the resulting corner flashed wide.
Marcelo 7.5- A very offensive performance from Marcelo, as the majority of Real’s attacks came through the left-hand side in the first-half. His connection with Marco Asensio & Cristiano Ronaldo helped matters, of course. His right-footed shot before the end of the half crashed off the woodwork, and the second period saw him left with more defensive responsibilities as Atleti poured forward in numbers.
Lucas Vasquez 7.5 – Picked up where he left off from his short but impressive display in midweek, as he constantly caused problems for Atletico. Los Colcheneros are without their first-choice left-back in Filipe Luis, and Madrid were keen to take advantage of his absence, with Vasquez showing his capability to do just that. Completed 5 dribbles, and 95% of his pass attempts in a performance which saw him constantly switching with Gareth Bale, to support Ronaldo up front.
Toni Kroos 7- Completed 95% of his 85 passes in a typical controlling performance. Seemed to tire early in the second half, and in hindsight probably should have been subbed instead of Kovacic to make way for fresher legs. Should have won a penalty after being impeded in the first-half by Juanfran but the referee had other ideas.
Mateo Kovacic 6.5 – Expected better from Kovacic, especially since he usually capitlises on these opportunities to impress, in the aftermath of a big Champions League game in midweek. Didn’t do too much wrong, but just felt that the game passed him by at times. His lack of awareness in failing to pick up Thomas played a big part in Atleti’s equaliser, and Zidane subbed him with 20 minutes left.
Marco Asensio 6.5 – Another player I expected more from considering his rest in midweek, but failed to do much that will have impressed his coaches. Linked up nicely with Marcelo in the first-half, and saw his effort cannon off the crossbar after Kroos looked to have been felled in the penalty area. Was unselfish at times, perhaps a bit too much, and like Kovacic, saw his day end early with a 72nd minute substitute.
Cristiano Ronaldo 8.5- Another big game, another big goal from Ronaldo. His calm effort early in the second half broke the deadlock, and although the lead didn’t last long, it relieved a frustrated Santiago Bernabeu. He had a quieter performance than usual, as attacking players tend to have versus the deeply organized Atletico, but when he was involved, he caused problems. Brought off after the hour-mark with one eye on Wednesday’s second leg.
Gareth Bale 8.5 – Happy for Bale to have produced the performance he did today. It was a big game for him, with much pressure on to impress following his failure to make an appearance last Tuesday in Turin. Started off playing alongside Ronaldo but dropped deep early on to draw out the opposition’s stubbornly-deep defensive line. Wreaked havoc whereever he went, with his assist for Ronaldo’s finish duly deserved. Completed 4 dribbles and won 4 aerial duels, but that he played the full 90 suggests he might have to sit out Wednesday’s return leg.
Karim Benzema 6.5 – His appearance had more to do with Zidane’s attempts to rest Ronaldo than anything else. Didn’t do too much when on the field, but he didn’t have to, with his place in next Wednesday’s line-up fully secured.
Luka Modric n/a