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Immediate reaction: Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico de Madrid

Quick recap of the derby.

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The Madrid derby commenced on an emotional note. The club paid a heartfelt tribute to the late Honorary president, the legend — Amancio Amaro. All Real Madrid players came out of the tunnel with his famous number seven on their backs before the teams observed a minute’s silence on a rainy evening in the Spanish capital.

Then began the football. Real Madrid’s reluctance to press high was observed straight away — possibly to negate Atletico’s transition ability, especially with Toni Kroos as the single pivot in the starting XI. Real Madrid was okay with sitting deep and allowing Atletico to have the ball early on. Atletico adjusted their game to it immediately and started to target Madrid’s flanks to send crosses into the box.

Real Madrid’s first real chance of the game came against the run of lay with an audacious long-range effort from Marco Asensio in the 9th minute which Jan Obk was able to react to. Atletico started to drop a bit deep by the 10th minute of the game Madrid created another chance with a long run from Eder Militao. His dangerous ball into the box reached Benzema but the Frenchman was marginally late to the ball.

By the 20th minute of the game, Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid settled into their traditional derby roles where Madrid dominated possession and Atletico waited patiently to attack the counter. They created a great chance with it too as Courtois had to stretch to deny Carrasco from the left in the 21st minute. In the meantime, Atletico lost Renildo through an injury and X took his place.

As the game progressed to the half-hour mark, Real Madrid’s chance creation on both flanks was undone by their lackluster passing and heavy touches than Atletico’s defensive efforts. Madrid was acting on the right ideas but the execution was lacking at this stage. Real Madrid was also getting ample set-piece opportunities but they were hardly getting on the end of anything. Atletico’s defenders cleared everything.

On the defensive side of things, Real Madrid continued to defend with a narrow shape that continued to allow Atletico to exploit space on both flanks late into the first half. Toni Kroos did well as the single pivot as there were not too many transitions to prevent. Dani Ceballos excelled with his movement and ball control in tight spaces to evade press on specific scenarios but his passing could have been better. The first half ended at 0-0.

Madrid started the second half strongly with one great chance created by Vini Jr getting deep into the box and cutting it back to Benzema who was once again marginally behind the ball. Madrid kept pushing and probing creating numerical overloads on the half spaces to cut the ball back into the center — something they did so well against Liverpool as well. Dani Ceballos’s supreme control in tight spaces was once again on display.

Atletico created a great chance right on the hour mark with Griezmann coming close to scoring from outside of the box. Courtois was already beaten but the shot went wide. Madrid made a triple change soon after, Luka Modric, Aurelien Tchouameni, and Eduardo Camavinga came on to replace Kroos, Asensio, and Ceballos.

A derby is not a derby without some drama. This time it was at Angel Correa’s expense as he got a straight red for an elbow on Rudiger’s chest. Atletico was down to 10 men for the final 25 minutes of the game. Atletico’s gameplay by that point’s overly affected by it though. They still kept looking for transition opportunities and generated some potent threats from a couple of corners.

10-men Atletico took advantage of a long free-kick as Jose Maria Jimenez rose above Militao and Rudiger to hand Atletico the lead in the 78th minute. The body language of the Real Madrid players deflated immediately and the energy they usually channel after going down in a Champions League game was absent for a while.

But it came back when Castilla starlet Alvaro Rodriguez’s dream start in first-team life continued as he duplicated Atletico’s goal to bring parity into the game. The Uruguayan sensation had registered an assist in his previous appearance.

The game did not see another goal and it ended 1-1. Real Madrid can now be 10 points behind Barcelona if the Catalan side wins their next fixture.

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