Real Madrid survived a late scare to beat city rivals Atletico Madrid 2-1 and claims local bragging rights, as well as maintain their perfect start to the new season with a ninth win in all competitions.
Rodrygo and Federico Valverde each scored fine goals in the first half to provide a commanding lead. Atletico substitute Mario Hermoso, who was eventually sent off in stoppage time, pulled one back to threaten a comeback but it was too little too late.
Even from the early stages the derby atmosphere was clear to see. There were a few scuffles between players in those exchanges, played with high intensity and strong tackles.
Rodrygo helped create the opening goal before he scored it, cutting in from the left and feeding Aurelien Tchouameni before continuing his run into the box. The ball came back to him and the young Brazilian was able to finish impressively first time beyond Jan Oblak.
Despite initially starting well, it was midway through the first half when Atletico caught their first real sight of goal as Antoine Griezmann drove forwards and tested Thibaut Courtois’ reach with a good effort. Geoffrey Kondogbia had earlier just missed the target with a long-range effort at 0-0.
The Real goal had actually taken a little bit of sting out of Atleti and the second goal 35 minutes in was hardly surprising. Vinicius Junior was sent racing through by a one-two with Luka Modric. He hit the inside of the post, but the rebound was followed in by a red hot Valverde from a tight angle.
Danger signs still persisted, with Yannick Carrasco forcing Courtois into a smart save soon before half-time after the Belgian winger had twisted Dani Carvajal inside and out. But once the second half began, Atleti’s early fizz faded even more and Real assumed near total control.
With fairly little coming from the hosts and the visitors with a comfortable lead, the second period progressed without that much in the way of proper action. Diego Simeone rang the changes, putting Matheus Cunha, Alvaro Morata and Angel Correa into the game, yet it made minimal difference.
Real were cruising and should have been able to see things out without problem. But a set-piece and a lapse of concentration handed Atletico an unexpected lifeline. Off his shoulder, Hermoso capitalised after Eder Militao inadvertently diverted a corner away from Courtois’ punch.
Hermoso was ultimately on the field for less than 20 minutes, booked a second time for a shove on Dani Ceballos at a corner and given his marching orders as a result. In the end, the dismissal killed what spirit Atleti had managed to briefly recapture.
GK: Jan Oblak – 5/10 – Fewer saves than goals conceded.
CB: Felipe – 5/10 – Failed to connect with an attempted acrobatic clearance seconds before Real scored.
CB: Axel Witsel – 6/10 – Another night in defence. Wasn’t facing proper ‘strikers’ and the movement of Real’s front three was tough to control.
CB: Reinaldo – 6/10 – Strong on the cover but took a first half yellow card. He had to watch his step after that but seemed to cope reasonably well.
RWB: Marcos Llorente – 5/10 – Had his work cut out trying to get forward when he had to keep an eye on Vinicius going the other way.
CM: Koke (c) – 6/10 – Did well but it wasn’t enough.
CM: Geoffrey Kondogbia – 6/10 – Ran all over the pitch but most of his time was chasing the ball.
CM: Rodrigo de Paul – 6/10 – Had done ok without excelling but ended up being sacrificed for a tactical shift.
LWB: Yannick Carrasco – 6/10 – Showed creative promise.
ST: Antoine Griezmann – 7/10 – Starting for the first time this season. Brought a good save out of Courtois and was the most obvious source of danger.
ST: Joao Felix – 4/10 – Not really in the game at all. Hooked after an hour and went straight down the tunnel.
SUB: Matheus Cunha (62′ for Felix) – 5/10
SUB: Alvaro Morata (62′ for De Paul) – 5/10
SUB: Mario Hermoso (72′ for Carrasco) – 6/10
SUB: Angel Correa (73′ for Koke) – 5/10
SUB: Saul Niguez (81′ for Konogbia) – N/A
Coach: Diego Simeone – 6/10 – His team started brightly but lost that fizz after going behind and he couldn’t find a way to recapture it. The goal was a little too late to matter.
GK: Thibaut Courtois – 6/10 – Made a few good saves when called upon. Not commanding enough for the goal conceded.
RB: Dani Carvajal – 7/10 – Enjoyed some crucial defensive moments.
CB: Eder Militao – 6/10 – Back from injury and hardly misplaced a pass. Probably should have done better when Atletico pulled one back.
CB: David Alaba – 6/10 – Largely able to play with the game in front of him and was pretty comfortable on the whole.
LB: Ferland Mendy – 6/10 – Able to get forward pretty well.
CM: Luka Modric (c) – 7/10 – His killer pass made the second goal possible.
CM: Aurelien Tchouameni – 8/10 – Perfectly weighted lofted through ball to set up the breakthrough goal. Won it back well too.
CM: Toni Kroos – 7/10 – Strong passing and often looked forward.
RF: Federico Valverde – 8/10 – Able to break the lines with his direct running and asked questions by moving all over the pitch. His red hot form was rewarded with another goal.
ST: Rodrygo – 8/10 – Kept his eye on the ball all the way onto his foot to open the scoring in fine fashion.
LF: Vinicius Junior – 8/10 – Unlucky not to score himself but was a constant threat and contibuted to the win al the same.
SUB: Antonio Rudiger (74′ for Mendy) – 6/10
SUB: Eduardo Camavinga (82′ for Modric) – N/A
SUB: Marco Asensio (86′ for Kroos) – N/A
SUB: Dani Ceballos (86′ for Rodrygo) – N/A
Coach: Carlo Ancelotti – 7/10 – Faced with the continued absence of Karim Benzema but got it right. Forced to then think later on as Atletico threatened a comeback but saw it out.
Player of the match: Federico Valverde
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