Recent matches between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid were known for being low-scoring affairs, and that tendency didn’t change Saturday when these two Liga giants met Saturday afternoon at Santiago Bernabeu. In a tightly contested affair, Los Merengues secured a 1-0 win that extended their lead at the top of the Liga standings.
Karim Benzema scored the match’s lone goal with a close-range finish early in the second half.
Despite Madrid’s win, they were not the dominant side once the match kicked off. Both teams spent the first few minutes looking for areas to exploit, and Los Colchoneros arguably looked more dangerous in the first 45 minutes. Angel Correa and Vitolo were the team’s biggest threats in the final meters, and both came close to defeat Thibaut Courtois. In fact, Correa was inches away from netting the first goal of the match when his 24th minute effort blasted the post.
Benzema turns things around for Madridin the second half
Los Merengues couldn’t create many chances in the first half and as a result, manager Zinedine Zidane sent Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior to replace Toni Kroos and Isco at the break. The uptick in intensity was clear, and Madrid’s approach to this game changed considerably. Madrid only needed 11 minutes to break the deadlock thanks to Benzema.
The former France international lifted Real Madrid towards the lead early in the second half, and it was a typical Madrid goal. Or should we say, a typical Benzema goal for Los Blancos? The Frenchman took advantage of a cross from left wing and placed the ball past Jan Oblak with a first-time finish.
As it has been a trend over the last few weeks, Atletico Madrid crumbled once they found themselves down in the score. Things were even tougher considering Alvaro Morata had to leave the pitch due to injury. Los Colchoneros now have Morata, Joao Felix and Diego Costa sidelined due to physical problems.
Simeone sent both Yannick Carrasco and Sergio Camello onto the pitch, but neither could delivered the expected results. Atletico couldn’t muster a single chance after Madrid scored the opener, and that highlighted the attacking struggles that have plagued them all season long.
Los Merengues closed the game out effectively and secured three more points, as they are more comfortable than ever at the top of the standings. On the other hand, Atletico Madrid remain outside the Top 4. They could fall even further in the standings if other results go against them during the rest of the weekend.
Real Madrid: Courtois (7); Dani Carvajal (6), Varane (6), Sergio Ramos (7), Mendy (7); Casemiro (6), Kroos (5) (Vinicius Júnior (6), 46’); Valverde (6), Modric (6), Isco (5) (Lucas Vazquez (5), 46’); Benzema (7)
Bench: Areola (GK), Marcelo, Eder Militao, James, Jovic
Atletico Madrid: Oblak (6); Vrsaljko (5), Savic (5), Felipe (6), Renan Lodi (7); Correa (6), Marcos Llorente (6), Thomas (5) (Camello (-), 74’), Saul (6); Morata (5) (Lemar (6), 50’), Vitolo (6) (Carrasco (5), 71’)
Bench: Adan (GK), Mario Hermoso, Toni Moya, Saponjic
Goals: Benzema (1-0, 56’)
Referee: Javier Estrada Fernandez
Yellow Cards: Mendy, Casemiro (MAD); Felipe, Vrsaljko (ATL)
Red Cards: None
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