Real and Atletico played a derby to decide the three teams at the top of the table.
Atletico is not one of them as Girona is in the middle of the big two, Real Madrid and Barcelona. This time things were different and Atletico came from 10th place in the table.
Atletico started to attack and they were rewarded with a goal in the 4th minute. Alvaro Morata opened the game with a beautiful goal.
Mario Hermoso came with the key pass and it was a brilliant one. Atletico was insisting on the right side with Llorente, Griezmann, and Molina.
Toni Kross tasted Atletico’s defense with a shot from a distance, but his attempt was blocked at the start and ended in Oblak’s hands.
Alaba had a chance with the free kick in the 16th minute, but the wall did its job and deflected the ball in a corner. Atletico responded in the 18th minute with an amazing action.
Atletico doubled the lead…
Antoine Griezmann received a ball from Saul Niguez and scored the second with a header.
Atletico was on the fast track and Real had to chase. Samuel Diaz Lino was injured in the 24th after a tackle from Antonio Rudiger.
Camavinga tried from distance in the 30th, but his shot was blocked by Saul Niguez. Real Madrid needed a concrete plan and strategy to bring themselves into the attack.
Toni Kross had the moment of magic in the 35th minute scoring from outside the box and the distance of goals is just one goal.
He went for another one in the 39th, but this time Oblak was there to save his shot. It is not only the maturity that makes Real dangerous when they are at a disadvantage but is the determination that this team has to pull themselves out of difficult situations. Also is the element of surprise that makes Real a tough team to be beaten.
And their moment came, Alaba equalized in the 44th, with Rudiger offside and the goal was ruled out.
Practically, that blew other chances for Real Madrid in this game. The attack of Atletico on the other hand had all the freshness to harm and make the gap bigger. Morata and Griezmann had all the abilities to attack half-spaces, be in hybrid positions, and fight between the lines.
After four minutes of extra time, the first half ended with Atletico’s advantage.
The second half started and in the 30th second Alvaro Morata scored with a header after the cross from Saul Niguez. Atletico had the double lead again.
Koke was out, Axel Witsel was in for Simeone’s side. Joselu was in and Modric left the pitch in the dressing rooms for Real Madrid.
Griezmann crossed from a corner kick and Hermoso shot touching the crossbar.
Real Madrid made a triple substitution. Lucas Vasquez walked off and Nacho was on the field. Eduardo Camavinga left the pitch for Aurielien Tchoumeni and Francisco Garcia was replaced by Ferland Mendy in the 57th.
Valverde crossed in the 64th with Joselu and Rodrygo who combined in the zone. Rodrygo shot and his shot was blocked by Savic.
Nahuel Molina was replaced by Cesar Azpilicueta in the 65th minute. Ferland Mendy was booked two minutes later for a foul in Marcos Llorente.
Real intensified their game
Rudiger stunned Oblak in the 70th, but his shot ended wide. Brahim Diaz subbed Kross in the same minute.
Real Madrid was the type of team that played in the entire field, but the headers they conceded made them impossible to continue and build. Concentration was the key for this Real not to concede and at the same time not leaving spaces behind.
Another important aspect was the spread of movement in the entire formations as both squads spread the game well but it was Atletico, which did it better.
Brahim Diaz was fouled by Niguez and Real Madrid had a free kick in the 81st. They could not score as the game entered in the final minutes.
Memphis Depay replaced Morata in the 83rd and this was a wake-up call for the attack of Atletico. Real Madrid is a team that was used with last-minute returns.
Gimenez was replaced by Correa and Lino by Javi Galan in the 87th. The match was highly organized and both teams gave their best.
Atletico won the match with the experience of the champion to return and fight for the high places in La Liga.