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Atletico Madrid 1-2 Real Madrid: Match Review

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Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

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.

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Three talking points ahead of Valencia vs Real Madrid | La Liga GW 27

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Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Back in November, Real Madrid locked horns with Valencia for the first time in the 2023-24 campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu. Their outing on the night could not have gone better as they put five goals past a helpless opposition who completely deflated under pressure.

A Dani Carvajal goal followed by braces from Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo sealed the deal on the night, with Valencia’s compensation coming in the form of a late, and solitary goal, from Hugo Duro.

On Saturday night, the two teams lock horns again. This time, Los Che will have the home advantage and the single factor could well be responsible for the drastic change in resistance Los Blancos could face on the night. After all, the Mestalla is not an easy fortress to conquer.

Madrid Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Valencia vs Real Madrid.

Double boost

Real Madrid have been without Jude Bellingham for close to three weeks now. The talisman last featured for Los Blancos in their 4-0 drubbing of Girona, but an ankle injury forced him off the field and out of action.

The youngster was soon joined by Joselu on the sidelines after the Spanish veteran suffered an ankle injury in training last week. Tests revealed a poor prognosis, effectively ruling Joselu out for three weeks.

Bellingham’s return to fitness has been speculated for a while now, and Ancelotti confirmed the same in his pre-match press conference. Bellingham will be available for selection on the night and could well start against Valencia.

The second recovery from injury, of Joselu, is nothing short of miraculous. Having been diagnosed with bone edema, it is almost unbelievable that the veteran is back in action just seven days later.

With Ancelotti confirming the duo’s availability on the night, Real Madrid can breathe a sigh of relief. After all, they will be rejuvenated in the final third where they have had to depend on just Vinicius Jr, Brahim Diaz, and Rodrygo Goes. A massive boost.

The Mestalla

Mestalla can be a daunting venue for visiting teams. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Playing Valencia at the Mestalla can be hell. History is a testament that the historic stadium is a fortress for Los Che, one that even the best teams in the world often falter at.

The story for Real Madrid at Mestalla is no different. The men in white may have dominated most of Spain’s stadiums over the years, but their record at Valencia’s home is not particularly encouraging.

Real Madrid and Los Che have locked horns at Mestalla ten times since 2015. Of those, Los Blancos have emerged victors just three times. Valencia have won on a staggering five occasions while two ended in a draw.

More worryingly, the Merengues have conceded a total of 17 goals in the aforementioned ten outings while scoring 16 times. Their most recent meeting, last season, ended in a 1-0 win for the hosts which currently reflects as the one-goal lead over the nine years.

If reports in the media are to be believed, the weekend’s clash between the leaders and Ruben Baraja’s side is sold out. The Mestalla will be at full capacity for the first time this season, and it is clear that a frightening atmosphere awaits Carlo Ancelotti’s men.

Conquering the Mestalla after failing last season will hand the Merengues a big boost not only on the table but in terms of confidence heading into the fag end of the season. A defeat, meanwhile, could see their lead at the top cut to three points.

Need for conviction

Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last eight games across all competitions. Their only defeats this season have come to Atletico Madrid, and it is clear that they are sailing with the tide of momentum.

Yet, there has been something strangely tight about the team’s recent games.
Right from the 1-0 win over Leipzig where the Germans dominated and deserved a win in the UEFA Champions League, Ancelotti’s men have appeared slightly out of tune.

The tight UCL win was followed by a 1-1 draw against Rayo Vallecano in La Liga that can only be described as fair. After all, the hosts created as much, if not more threat than Real Madrid on the night.

Most recently, the Merengues salvaged a tight 1-0 win over Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu. The deadlock did not break until the 81st minute of the night, and only a Golazo from Luka Modric ensured that they took home three points.

Los Blancos, thus, are in dire need of a win with conviction. A showing like the performance they dished out against Girona will go a long way, especially with the second leg of the UCL Round of 16 just around the corner.

Will Bellingham’s return to the XI do the trick for Real Madrid in that sense? Or are they lacking something apart from the English protege’s brilliance? Only time will tell.

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