Real Madrid reignited their La Liga title push on Saturday beating leaders Atletico 2-0 as their city rivals suffered a first league defeat of the season.
Real, who salvaged their Champions League campaign in midweek by making the last 16, moved to third in the table, three points behind Atletico. It was a disappointing night for Diego Simeone’s side who had boasted a 26-match unbeaten run in the league, stretching back to February.
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Zinedine Zidane’s team were in front after 15 minutes when Casemiro headed home a corner from Toni Kroos. That was reward for Real’s early pressure which had seen Karim Benzema denied by a fine save from Jan Oblak onto the post moments earlier.
Atletico, who also made the Champions League knockout round in midweek, struggled to make any impression and star striker Luis Suarez was an anonymous figure up front.
The first period ended with tension as Vinicius got involved in a spat with Stefan Savic which saw referee Mateu Lahoz have to came the players down. Then, once the half-time whistle went, Koke kicked the ball at the Brazilian, Vinicius took exception to it and there were handbags. Fortunately for all, the players then had 15 minutes to calm down.
In the second period, Atletico Madrid grew into the game and could have levelled. Thomas Lemar had a glorious chance in the 55th minute after a cross by Marcos Llorente found the former Monaco man at the back post, but he could only find the sidenetting. Eight minutes later, their hopes of fighting back were all but over.
Real went 2-0 up after 63 minutes, shortly after Atletico’s Joao Felix reacted angrily to being subbed off, with Kroos again the provider. His pass eventually fell for Dani Carvajal who unleashed a 30-metre drive which hit the post but was diverted into the net by the helpless Oblak. The keeper was credited with an own-goal for his troubles.
Atletico pressed to halve the deficit and Saul’s header from Lodi’s cross was well saved by Courtois. Lemar then got a second opportunity, but he hit over the goal. Real Madrid were deserved winners and Atletico left themselves with two much to do after a poor start.
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