Despite having the lion’s share of possession and twice as many shots, Real Madrid could not find a breakthrough against Atletico Madrid. A draw does not suit either side and it’s more a case of two points lost than one point gained in the race to catch Barcelona in the La Liga title race. The gap now stands at 10 points, making next month’s El Classico a must win encounter for Los Blancos.
Real Madrid got away with an early mistake when Raphael Varane’s misplaced pass was seized upon by Angel Correa who inexplicably missed the target when one on one with Kiko Casilla. Varane later redeemed himself with a goal-line clearance following a chipped effort by Kevin Gameiro. However, they were Atletico’s only notable chances as Real Madrid kept the ball for much of the game.
Both Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were largely kept quiet by the hosts, with the former restricted to shots from distance which never really troubled Jan Oblak. A late chance fell to Toni Kroos but the Atletico stopper would not be denied and pulled off a decent save to ensure it was honours even in the first Madrid derby at Wanda Metropolitano.
Diego Simeone set up his side to stifle Real Madrid and they succeeded in disrupting the flow of the game. Persistent fouling prevented the visitors from getting into any kind of rhythm. Los Colchoneros registered 21 fouls and had six players awarded yellow cards, so may have been lucky to end the game with eleven men on the pitch.
The flashpoint in the match came when Sergio Ramos was caught in the face by the high boot of Lucas Fernandez. The Real Madrid skipper suffered a broken nose and was replaced by Nacho at half time while the perpetrator benefitted from lenient refereeing and was only booked for the incident.
The draw means that Real Madrid have now recorded just one win in the last five matches in all competitions. It’s alarming form and Zinedine Zidane is under pressure to turn things around. Up next is an easy fixture on paper away to Apoel Nicosia in the Champions League before the welcome of Malaga in La Liga at the weekend.