Atlético Madrid 1-0 Real Madrid. Here is the immediate reaction to the derby loss. Still to come: press conference details, player ratings and the ManagingMadrid podcast.
La Liga was now settled, and Real Madrid had a Champions League final to prepare for at the end of the month. In order to provide some much needed rest for some key players, Carlo Ancelotti opted to significantly rotate the team and provide minutes for the fringe players in the squad. Andriy Lunin was given a very rare place in goal, whilst Lucas Vázquez and Nacho Fernández started at full-back. Jesús Vallejo joined them in defence, in the middle. Rodrygo Goes finally got a start after some fantastic recent form coming off of the bench, with Marco Asensio on the other wing. Mariano Díaz was originally preferred up-front, but after dropping out pre-match, Luka Jović took his place in the team. The bench was full of the regular starters who could still be called upon for back up if needed. Nacho Fernández captained the team this evening.
Jović replaces @marianodiaz7 in the starting XI.#AtletiRealMadrid https://t.co/Z5okmBSs1w— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) May 8, 2022
The downside to using the remaining league games as an opportunity to mix the squad up, is that the fixtures may feel like pre-season has come early with the competition sucked out of the proceedings before a ball is kicked. As a Madrid-derby, this game was always going to be cagey and quite close, but the slow pace certainly favoured the hosts at times. Still, Los Blancos were more than in the game, only falling behind in the first half due to a dramatic penalty given against Jesús Vallejo for making contact with his man inside the area - something that would only be caught by VAR. Yannick Carrasco took a long run up before smashing the ball past Andriy Lunin to put his side ahead. Madrid came close towards the end of the half when Toni Kroos almost scored a long ranged effort, and Luka Jović could not beat Jan Oblak from inside the area.
Atletico Madrid beat Real Madrid for the first time at the Wanda Metropolitano! pic.twitter.com/Cn5DTwIsIU— GOAL (@goal) May 8, 2022
The second half didn’t bring much change, despite a few of the big names coming on for Real Madrid. Antoine Griezmann came close for Atlético, and Carrasco continued to look dangerous in attack. A Fede Valverde screamer was then denied by Oblak after he came onto the pitch alongside Ferland Mendy, Luka Modrić and Vinícius Júnior. The biggest opportunity for the visitors would come right at the end however, when captain Nacho Fernández spurned a chance from close range. The full time whistle blew to give the hosts the 1-0 win - but it remained a good chance for Madrid to stretch some new legs out and give some much needed rest to others, and I don’t think this is the last time we will see this happen in the near future at all. What did you think about the rotations, and the result? Join Kiyan and the gang on tonight’s post game podcast for a full debrief.