April 23, 2018
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5 TALKING POINTS! Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid… Griezmann Cancels Out Ronaldo Opener In Derby Stalemate!!!

5 TALKING POINTS! Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid… Griezmann Cancels Out Ronaldo Opener In Derby Stalemate!!!

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Antoine Griezmann rescued Atletico Madrid a point from the derby clash with Real Madrid, but the result only favours La Liga leaders Barcelona.

Cristiano Ronaldo should have sent Real ahead but fired straight at Jan Oblak when the ball fell to him kindly at the back post after Sergio Ramos flicked on a corner, then Toni Kroos was denied what looked like a penalty after he was tripped in the box.

At the other end Diego Costa had a goal ruled out after he fouled Sergio Ramos in the build-up, while Varane was denied by an excellent Oblak stop.

Marcelo curled a strike off the crossbar shortly before half-time, the closest either side came to scoring in the first period, which Real dominated.

The game exploded into life after the break, with Ronaldo finishing superbly from Bale’s cross, before Griezmann stabbed home from close range to level four minutes later.

Neither team could find a winner and the draw leaves Barcelona 11 points clear at the top of the table.

Here are the key talking points from the game…

1. Decaffeinated derby

Madrid derbies are usually fiery affairs but this lacked a bit of punch in the first half.

With both teams so far behind Barcelona at the top of the table there was nothing other than the proverbial bragging rights at stake.

Real Madrid face Juventus on Wednesday in the Champions League while Atletico Madrid travel to Portugal for the second leg of their Europa League tie against Sporting Lisbon, both important clashes in competitions the capital clubs could yet win.

Kroos was booked for a late tackle on Antoine Griezmann, while Vitolo and Thomas Partey were also shown yellows for fouls, although everything was above board and part of the natural ebb and flow of the game.

However at some point along the way both teams remembered that this was a derby and forgot to hold back.

The game burst into life with goals from Ronaldo and Griezmann shortly after the interval, but then Zidane hauled off his Portuguese talisman in the 63rd minute to preserve him for the Juve clash.

There’s no way he would have hooked Ronaldo—or Ronaldo would have allowed himself to be substituted—if there was something at stake.

2. Oblak shows his quality

It’s clear why Paris Saint-Germain want to sign Atletico Madrid’s towering Slovenian stopper Jan Oblak.

The goalkeeper was at his very best and were it not for his interventions Real Madrid would have sunk Atletico in the first 45 minutes.

Oblak denied both Ronaldo and Varane from close range and then was alert to keep Dani Carvajal’s powerful effort out on the rebound after Marcelo hit the crossbar.

Unfortunately for Oblak he came up against Ronaldo at his most lethal after the break, the goalkeeper rendered helpless as the Portuguese hitman volleyed home Bale’s cross superbly.

Real Madrid are interested in signing a replacement for Keylor Navas, frequently linked to David De Gea and Thibaut Courtois, though maybe the man they need is already in the city.

3. Refereeing complaints

Neither Real Madrid nor Atletico were happy with referee Xavier Estrada Fernandez or his assistants.

While that shows there was no bias with his decisions, unfortunately for the official he got a few things wrong. The referee should have given Kroos a penalty when Diego Godin caught the German midfielder in the area, felling him.

Atletico argued that he was wrong to penalise Costa for showing strength against Ramos, which led to the former Chelsea striker having a goal ruled out.

Then Vitolo was called offside while in his own half, which was a very poor decision.

With both goalkeepers impressing it seemed like the game might come down to a discussion over the refereeing but thankfully there was more action to comment on in the second half as the two teams upped their game.

4. Griezmann demonstrates Barca credentials

Reports in Spain suggest Barcelona are going to sign Atletico Madrid star Griezmann in the summer.

“I don’t know where this information has come from but I don’t know anything and because of that I’m not going to talk at the moment,” said Griezmann to Telefoot when asked about the stories, before this clash.

However it’s no secret that the Frenchman wants his future to be decided before the World Cup, and here he gave more evidence to Barca that he would be worth their while, at a quite reasonable price of 100 million euros – his release clause price.

With Real Madrid jubilant after going ahead, Griezmann stayed focused to make sure he was in the right place at the right time to tuck home the equaliser.

The Frenchman’s goal means Atletico maintain their four point lead on rivals Real in the table, and proves to Barca that he has no problems when it comes to scoring against Los Blancos.

5. A favour for the enemy

Much of the talk ahead of this weekend of action focused on Zinedine Zidane’s comments, with the Real Madrid coach saying his team would not perform a guard of honour for Barcelona in the May Clasico, assuming the Catalans have won the league by then.

The guard of honour is known as ‘pasillo’ in Spanish, but while Madrid won’t be giving Barcelona one of those, they gave them another type of ‘pasillo’ here — a pathway.

A pathway towards the title, because in holding back second-place Atletico Madrid, Real leave Barcelona a comfortable 11 points clear at the top of the table with seven games to go.

While some have criticised the guard of honour decision as unsporting, Madrid’s performance was honourable in its own way to Barcelona, because they played well enough to win this game and showed no signs of wanting Atletico to take the points to keep the pressure on rivals Barcelona.

Thanks to Real’s efforts, Barcelona are another step closer to wrenching the title back from the Santiago Bernabeu.


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