Atletico Madrid 1-2 Real Madrid: Match Review
With eight wins in as many games, Real Madrid headed into Matchday 6 with their biggest game yet on the horizon. Los Blancos were set to take on Atletico Madrid in their first derby of the season and, needless to say, all eyes were on the Civitas Metropolitano on Sunday night.
Carlo Ancelotti had Eder Militao back on the night and placed the Brazilian alongside David Alaba at the heart of the defence. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos were joined by Aurelien Tchouameni in midfield while Federico Valverde, Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo rounded off the attack.
For Atletico Madrid, the biggest news was that Antoine Griezmann was finally given a first start of the season amidst the uncertainty around his contractual clause.
Los Rojiblancos dominated the opening play and were the first team to go on the offensive on the night. Felipe and Geoffrey Kondogbia had early chances in the game but didn’t utilise their opportunities.
Real Madrid scored against the run of play in the 18th minute after some wonderful combination play between Tchouameni and Rodrygo. The Brazilian began the move with a pass to the midfielder who instantly lobbed it over the defence and returned the pass. With just Oblak to beat, Rodrygo did not make any mistake in front of the goal.
Exactly 18 minutes after the opener, Los Blancos extended their lead to two on the night. This time it was Vinicius who tormented the hosts’ defence with a mazy run before firing a shot at Oblak. The shot-stopper made the save but the rebound fell kindly for Federico Valverde who tucked it away.
The intensity of the game fell in the second half with neither team looking inspired in the attack. While the visitors were happy to hold onto their two-goal lead, one could not fathom why Diego Simeone’s side did not come out of the dressing room with more purpose and intent.
With seven minutes of regulation time to go, Simeone’s side pulled one back through a set-piece. Thibaut Courtois completely missed a corner and substitute Mario Hermoso diverted it home via his shoulder. Suddenly, the game was alive again.
The 90th minute saw the goalscorer sent off for a trivial foul leading to his second yellow card. However, there were questions asked as to whether the defender’s offence was red card worthy.
The game ended in a 2-1 win for Real Madrid despite the hosts’ best efforts to equalise in the dying minutes. With this win, Ancelotti’s champions reclaim the top spot from Barcelona and head into the international break as the La Liga leaders, with their winning streak undisturbed.
Real Madrid vs Athletic Club: End of an era, farewells, tight race for second place
Real Madrid will walk down the tunnel of Santiago Bernabeu one last time this season on Sunday night. The men in white are pitted against Athletic Club on their final match-day, and the game will not be an easy affair by any means.
The Basque side sit in seventh place on the league standings with 50 points in 37 appearances. However, their qualification for the UEFA Conference League is in danger with Osasuna lurking close behind with an equal number of points.
Anything less than a win could prove insufficient for the visitors and it is clear that they arrive at Santiago Bernabeu with nothing less than a win on their agenda. Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Real Madrid vs Athletic Club Bilbao.
1. The end of an era for the number 9 shirt?
The grey area around Karim Benzema’s future has only widened in recent days. From a situation where his continuity at Real Madrid was taken for granted, it did not take long for the Frenchman’s story to enter a steep deviation.
An economically tempting proposal from Saudi Arabia had Benzema seriously contemplating a move away from Santiago Bernabeu, and reports stated that his departure from the Spanish club was close to complete.
The world, thus, looked in anticipation of his next official interaction with the media. The Ballon d’Or winner publicly addressed the topic for the first time earlier this week, and it is safe to say that his words gave nothing away.
Benzema neither confirmed nor completely refuted the rumours of his exit to the media. His situation is balanced on the blade of a knife and could tip in either direction.
In that sense, there is a good chance that tomorrow’s clash at Santiago Bernabeu is Karim Benzema’s final game for Real Madrid. If the striker does choose to change loyalties, it would mark the end of an era for the team’s number nine position.
It has been over a decade since the Frenchman took over the prestigious kit. He has played 647 games for the club so far in his career, scoring a stunning 353 goals in the process. Of them, 98 have been match-winning contributions.
2. A day of farewells
Earlier today, Real Madrid announced the departure of Marco Asensio from the club. The Spanish winger appears set to sign for PSG for the 2023-24 season and will bid adieu on Sunday. However, he will not be the only player playing his final game for the club tomorrow.
Nacho Fernandez has been a critical part of Real Madrid’s success in recent years but is another name close to sealing an exit. The defender is not satisfied with the playing time under his belt at the club and has not yet responded to the renewal offer on his table.
With his contract running out in less than 30 days, he appears closer to leaving than staying. One can expect an announcement from Nacho on Sunday night after the game at the Bernabeu, which could be his final game in white.
The situation with Dani Ceballos is quite similar. The Spanish midfielder is still undecided on his future, although there is still a slight chance he could continue at the club. Staying on the subject of players making their final appearance, however, he could be one on the list.
Away from the stories of incomplete renewal negotiations, Mariano Diaz is one player whose departure from the club is confirmed. Ferland Mendy, Jesus Vallejo, Alvaro Odriozola and Eden Hazard are some of the other candidates well-placed to make departures, although nothing can be said for sure.
3. A tight race for second place
There is not much to play for on Sunday night except for the emotional tag of it being the season’s final game. Yet, the men in white will not be without an objective against Athletic Club.
Los Blancos sit on 77 points in 37 league appearances this season and just have a one-point lead over third-placed Atletico Madrid. Needless to say, they must be vary of their position on the standings for any complacency could see them drop down the ladder.
Diego Simeone’s men take on fifth-placed Villarreal at the same time as Real Madrid’s game against Athletic Club. Even if Carlo Ancelotti’s men settle for a draw against the Basque side, the second place would be Atletico Madrid’s to lose.
With both games kicking off simultaneously, there will be nerves throughout the ninety minutes in Madrid. One can only hope for action-filled games to keep the anxiety and adrenaline high.