The two neighbors of the Spanish capital have parted in a 1-1 draw which is rather the business of Atlético.

It was a very important game that was played on the side of the Wanda Metropolitano this afternoon. A clash between the two enemy neighbors of the city of Madrid, with all the rivalry that goes with it. But also, and above all even, a primordial duel in the race for the title. After having achieved rather poor results in recent weeks, Atlético has seen Barca and Real Madrid return.

At the start of the game, the Rojiblancos were only three points ahead of Real Madrid, third, with one game less though. After the Merengue victory in the first league match (2-0), Diego Simeone's team was looking for revenge and the Argentine could finally count on an almost complete team, with Giménez as the only absent. Trippier was for example back on the right flank, while Correa was preferred to Felix. For his part, Zinedine Zidane, still deprived of Ramos and Hazard, relied on Asensio and Rodrygo to accompany the returning Benzema.

Unsurprisingly, the start of the match was played at a rather low pace. Neither team wanted to uncover each other or leave spaces for their opponents, so there wasn't much of a hot situation, with two teams holding the ball very little in the opposing half of the pitch. Atlético had the ball and seemed slightly superior in the game, without worrying their rival of the day.

The Colchoneros were going to strike quickly. Marcos Llorente was launched by Trippier on the right side and found Luis Suarez in the box. The Uruguayan then beat Courtois with a superb outside foot (1-0, 14th). It was not until the 18th minute of play to witness Real Madrid's first interesting situation, with a failed volley from Benzema in the area. Zidane's men had plenty of response, but it was always the home side that offered the most interesting situations upfront.

Atlético has harvested a lot

It was just before the half-hour mark that Oblak had to intervene for the first time of the day, with a vicious strike from Casemiro from outside the area. There was no huge opportunity on either side any way, but Llorente or Carrasco were doing a lot of harm to Atlético, like the Spaniard's center for Suarez, who could not resume in the best conditions at the far post (38th).

This advantage at the break was therefore rather deserved for the troops of Cholo, superior to their enemy merengue on practically every level. It remained to be seen whether the Argentinian tactician would ask his troops to continue playing the attack or to withdraw for this second round. It was obviously the first choice since, at the outset, Atlético continued to play fairly high.

Opposite, Zinedine Zidane's troops were looking to attack and be a bit sharper, but it was still just as difficult. Not to mention poorly negotiated set-piece situations. On this center of Lucas Vazquez, Nacho regained his head, but it was directly in the gloves of Oblak (52nd). In the process, Courtois released a providential intervention in front of Carrasco (53rd), while behind, Llorente could not fit! The Belgian goalkeeper did it again with a new decisive exit in the feet of Suarez this time (55th)! At the fall of a header from Carrasco, Correa, alone in the area, was completely hole and missed the 2-0 (61st).

Valverde tried his luck from afar, but Oblak was there (71st). Very discreet today, Benzema could not find the frame (74th), then, missed twice in front of Oblak (79th), then saw the Slovenian give him a free kick (81st). And what had to happen, happened. After a nice one-two with Casemiro in the colchonera area, the tricolor striker sent the ball to the back of the net, empty since Oblak was out in front of Casemiro (1-1, 87th). The score has not changed, and Atlético keeps three points ahead of its rival, with one game less. Real Madrid has at least the particular goal average in their favor.

The man of the match: Llorente (8): against his former club, the number 14 of Atlético de Madrid did what he can do best: make differences and break lines, whether with the ball or through passes. Combining technical quality and physical strength, the Spaniard did very badly in the Merengue half of the field, like his race which ended with an assist for Suarez. But not only, since he was also the source of several other hot Colchoneros situations. A high-level performance, even if like many players from both teams, we felt tired at the end of the game.

Atlético de Madrid

Oblak (6.5):

the Slovenian was not necessarily very worried tonight, since most of the Merengues occasions were quite easy to repel, such as this strike from Casemiro (29th), a header from Nacho (52nd), or a distant attempt by Valverde (71st). At the end of the match, however, he released a monstrous double intervention in front of Benzema to prevent the equalization of the French (79th), who will arrive a little later. His exit on Casemiro on the number 9 goal is perhaps a bit rushed.

Carrasco (7):

as usual, the Belgian has been in all the right places on this left side of Atlético. Occupying the whole side by himself, he multiplied the climbs. Dangerous upfront, creating opportunities for him and his partners (mainly Suarez) and quite useful on defensive streaks. Always smart, fair, without going overboard. João Félix replaced him (64th) but was unable to distinguish himself and disappointed.

Hermoso (7):

the defender trained in the Merengues delivered a more than satisfactory performance. He was as usual the first launching pad for his team's attacks with his valuable relaunch quality. If we talk about the purely defensive field, he was not really worried by his vis à vis, winning many duels and cutting some actions from Zidane's team.

Felipe (6):

the Brazilian was in the center of this three-way defense this afternoon. Not always serene this season, the former Porto player has responded today. In a style a little less academic than his two pivotal partners, he was able to repel the opponent's attempts, especially in the second period where he had to intervene regularly. Small fright for him all the same at the end of the first period with a hand in the area that the referee considered involuntary, and a little too wait-and-see on the goal of the equalizer.

Savic (6.5):

in the absence of Giménez, he is the captain of the defense. And Montenegrin was up to the challenge, as is more and more usual with him. The former Fiorentina has been mostly imperial in the aerial game, fending off a multitude of crosses and set pieces from Real Madrid. Not much to be ashamed of today.

Trippier (6):

back after his suspension, the Englishman has proven why he is an essential part of this Atlético. He is at the origin of the first goal with a nice gap for his privileged partner, Marcos Llorente. Not totally in the rhythm, he lost in importance a bit as the game progressed, contenting himself with defending, and he did it pretty well.

Koke (6.5):

the boss of the middle colchonero responded. Perhaps a little less flamboyant than usual in that he had to defend a lot and mainly played singles, but he was always fair in his transmissions, always finding his partners in the right tempo. If players like Modric have been quite discreet today, it is partly thanks to him.

Llorente (8): see above.

Lemar (6):

the Frenchman, very good since the start of 2021, made a rather correct copy on the lawn of Wanda Metropolitano. Several wells negotiated and improved balls on opposing ground, with the right choice made each time, without however succeeding in being decisive. Substantial defensive work to be noted as well. The former Monegasque has been replaced by Saul (57th), author of a rather anecdotal and tasteless entry.

Correa (5):

the Argentinean had the favors of his compatriot this afternoon, the latter having preferred him to Felix. He didn't have a lot of usable balloons to bite into, but he did the job, serving as a fulcrum for his partners far from the surface. It misses the 2-0 (60th), let alone in front of Courtois, and makes fail some outputs of the ball which could have led to interesting counter-attacks. Simeone took it out to put Kondogbia (82nd), who lent a hand when Real Madrid attacked late in the game.

Luis Suarez (7.5):

in major meetings, the great players are present. It took the Uruguayan less than a quarter of an hour to end his five-game streak without scoring with a sublime outside. Then he was poison upfront, driving Merengue defenders mad with calls and balls played outside the box. He combined rather well with his partners, as on this ball for Carrasco (53rd), and had a bit of trouble to follow up as the end of the match approached.

real Madrid

Courtois (6):

another solid match from the Belgian goalkeeper. While he could not help Suarez's goal, the former Chelsea goalkeeper has saved his own on several occasions, including winning his one-on-one matches ahead of Yannick Carrasco (52nd) and Luis Suarez (54th). If Real Madrid brings back a point from the derby, they can say thank you to Courtois.

Lucas Vasquez (3.5):

he is not a right-back by trade and in this type of match, it is obvious. Little insight offensively and not really at ease on his crosses, Lucas Vaéquez took to the water defensively like this small bridge from Yannick Carrasco.

Nacho (4):

Sergio Ramos isn't here and if Nacho did what he could to make up for him, the suit was obviously too big for the eternal Casa Blanca replacement. He suffered from too many Colchoneros attacks and got wet at times, such as Luis Suarez’s opener where he was too easily knocked out by Llorente. Nacho wanted to make his Sergio Ramos offensively, but his header was well stopped by Oblak (52nd).

Varane (4):

without Sergio Ramos, the 2018 world champion has more trouble. And it proved to be true again this Sunday afternoon. Defense boss Merengue was not flawlessly secure. He does not play well on the offside on the goal of Suarez and made a terrible raise on this same Suarez on this big opportunity of Carrasco (52nd).

F. Mendy (5):

Ferland Mendy was not unworthy on his left side. It must be said that the former Lyonnais is one of the few players to try things this afternoon at the Metropolitano. A little tight defensively, especially in front of Llorente, untenable this Sunday, the French international was not unworthy.

Casemiro (5):

Usually so sharp, the Casa Blanca sentry was eaten in the first half by the Atlético midfielder. Offensively, he was the source of Real's first chance in the game with the 25-meter end thrown back by Oblak (28 '). He saved his match with a superb assist for Karim Benzema at the very end of the game.

Modric (4):

the former Ballon d'Or, returned to its best level in recent weeks, tried to organize the gang's play in Zidane in the first period, but far too far to bring danger in front of goals of Oblak. Disappeared a bit in the second half and attempted an improbable free kick from 20 meters from the outside of the foot at the very end of the match.

Kroos (3.5):

complicated match for the German international midfielder. Inside, Kroos didn't have his usual impact under Real's tunic. Physically non-existent, overwhelmed in midfield, the German has done nothing well except for a few corners poorly controlled by Real Madrid players.

Asensio (3):

Apart from a few overruns and the first cross for Benzema (17th), the Spain international was still disappointing tonight. Little offensive impact, few differences on the ball, Marco Asensio went through the meeting like a lost soul, hardly ever worrying about the Colchoneros' defense. Replaced by Federico Valverde (59th) who immediately brought offensively, carrying a little more the ball and bringing the excess and the danger as on this overpowered strike well repelled by Oblak (70th). Winning coaching from Zidane, although Real Madrid fans will no doubt long wonder why ZZ didn't bring him in sooner.

Benzema (6):

he had missed the last 3 matches affected by the adductors and his return was inevitably eagerly awaited. A little too isolated at the tip of the Merengue attack, not really helped by the ghostly Rodrygo and Asensio, Benzema had a tough afternoon until Vinicius and Valverde came on. Level scoring opportunity, a recovery that was too crushed on a cross from Asensio (17th), a totally missed header (25th), and a strike from 20 meters away in the 74th. But the French striker never gave up. After a double save by Jan Oblak (78th) on two shots from close range and a free-kick well repelled by the Atleti goalkeeper, Benzebut finally equalized late in the game after an assist from Casemiro. Simply essential.

Rodrygo (2):

few balls hit, a lot of bad choices and too many failed dribbles. Struggling ahead of Hermoso, he clearly didn’t score any points this Sunday afternoon. Logically replaced by Vinicius Jr (59th) who quickly brought his explosiveness. An ardor unfortunately not well controlled by the Brazilian striker even if the brilliant pass from the outside of the foot for Karim Benzema could have been decisive without this double save from Oblak (78th).