For this Atlético Madrid – Real Madrid derby, Atleti coach Simeone used one of the few remaining opportunities to use Griezmann for the entire match. That detail alone is enough to show how important this game was to him. The entire Atlético team came out fired up and played in the style of Simeone’s first era – with two focused attackers up front, João Félix and Griezmann – and fighting for every metre of turf. Madrid, somewhat less intense, took their time to settle. At this point in the match, I thought the game was going to be a tough test for those standing in for Casemiro and Benzema, the only changes from the team in Paris. Madrid seemed to be lacking something through the middle, from the top of one box to the top of the other.
Madrid score two goals with rapid moves
But Kroos and Modric started linking up, Madrid started skipping past the pressure Atleti applied on a number of occasions, and Ancelotti’s men looked to hit Atleti on the break. Their first rapid-fire move, after some decent team play, finished with a goal, with Tchouameni at the heart of it – his pass was exquisite and Rodrygo’s finish deadly. The Brazilian has been playing well for some time now and being noticed for it. The two ‘sticking plasters’ in the team had come up with a goal. Not long after, another lightning move: a one-two between Modric and Vinicius, who hared away and hit the post; the rebound fell to Valverde who finished from a tight angle. A sensational goal. Two cobra-strikes on an Atleti side who defend far better higher up the pitch than further back and who paid dearly.
Atleti score, Madrid know how to close it out
The tonic of the match didn’t change in the second half. Atlético pressed and Madrid waited to unleash another strike, while the atmosphere turned ugly towards Vinicius, who was subject to racist abuse. Atlético finally got on the scoresheet in the 82nd minute, from one of a series of corners, offering up the possibility of a draw, but Madrid knew how to put the game to bed. Hermoso, who actually scored the goal, was once again victim of his own lack of control and was sent off in the 90th for two uncalled for rash actions, though the second was punished harshly by the referee. And that was the end of that. Atlético brought the effort, Madrid the composure and the speed.