It would take just one swipe of Antoine Griezmann's left foot to settle things in El Derbi at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday afternoon. That is the simplified, watered down version of events, of course, and along with Griezmann'a goal you had a mixture of excellent Atletico defending, poor Ronaldo finishing and intense work from Atletico's engine room in order to come away with the win. It was, however, a definitive moment of beauty from Griezmann that ensured all three points were making their way back to the Vicente Calderon.
Their tears are delicious
Their tears are delicious
The first half was void of any real action but Atletico were putting good pressure on the hosts and might have felt a little unlucky not to go in at the break with the lead. Koke had a good chance that Keylor Navas turned around the post and Fernando Torres had another decent effort that he couldn't get enough power behind and Raphael Varane managed to get a half-block on. It would remain a deadlock as the ref blew for half-time.
Real started the second half wth a little more intensity to their game and Ronaldo was put through after minutes of the restart but drove his shot wide of the post. Atletico were looking vulnerable at this stage and it appeared as though it was only a matter of time before their rivals would land an opener. That was before a swift counter-attack saw Griezmann push the ball out wide to Filipe Luis, who pulled the ball back to the Frenchman. Griezmann made no mistake as he curled his left-footed finish past Navas in Real's goal.
Real were trying desperately hard to equalise and Ronaldo saw a header from close range fall directly into Jan Oblak's hands and another chance had gone a-begging. Danilo believed he had a case for a penalty when Gabi bundled him over in the box but the referee was having none of it and waved for the stand-in left-back to get up as he denied the penalty claims.
Atletico could have had another goal when Griezmann, who was Atletico's stand-out performer in attack as he so often is, put Saul through on goal. The young Spaniard tried to chip it over Navas but the Costa Rican was equal to his efforts. The game got a little chippy from that point and Lucas Vazquez, Jose Gimenez, Angel Correa, Dani Carvajal and Sergio Ramos were all booked in the last half an hour.
Ronaldo had one last effort to draw Real Madrid level but his header was too close to Oblak and the Slovenian gladly accepted the easy save as he put together another excellent clean sheet. Atletico move four points clear of their rivals in third place and five behind Barcelona, who have to win against Sevilla to keep Atletico's chances of mounting a title challenge at bay.