Real Madrid denied derby win as Antoine Griezmann snatches point

Real Madrid’s La Liga title hopes were dented after they were held to a 1-1 derby draw by Atletico Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Pepe’s second-half header had looked like ensuring Zinedine Zidane’s side would remain top of the table, whatever the result when Barcelona face Malaga later on Saturday, but Antoine Griezmann’s equaliser meant the European champions’ lead only extended to three points ahead of Barca’s match.

Real Madrid

Atletico remain 10 points behind their local rivals and kept their hold on the third and final automatic Champions League spot, with the point meaning Sevilla will be unable to draw level with them this weekend.

Following a minute’s silence before kick-off to commemorate Antonio Lamela, the architect who designed Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training complex, and also to honour the victims of Friday’s attack in Stockholm, the match got off to a less-than-energetic start.

It took almost quarter-of-an-hour for Real to create some danger, as Ronaldo cut inside and fired in a low shot which Jan Oblak saved to his right.

Atletico were doing well to shackle the threat of Gareth Bale, who was recalled to the starting XI having sat out the midweek 4-2 win at Leganes.

Oblak was again alert to deny Karim Benzema before Real came close to taking the lead after opening Atletico up after 30 minutes.

Luka Modric latched onto a stray pass and picked out Ronaldo, whose shot beat the Atletico keeper, only for Stefan Savic to nod the ball clear from under the crossbar.

Oblak was soon in action again, the Slovenian alert to save Bale’s header.

Atletico, though, remained dangerous on the counter-attack, as Griezmann made the most of a loose pass from Sergio Ramos and sent a low shot goalwards which Navas pushed behind at full stretch.

Real came out for the second half with renewed purpose, and Ronaldo could have broken the deadlock only to nod wide from Marcelo’s cross. The Portugal forward then turned provider for Benzema, sending a cushioned header back across goal from the far post for the Frenchman, but Oblak was out quickly to make a superb reaction save at point-blank range.

Real eventually swept into the lead after 52 minutes. Germany midfielder Toni Kroos floated in a free kick from the left towards the far post where Pepe got above Juanfran Torres to send a looping header back into the bottom corner past the dive of Oblak.

Real defender Dani Carvajal then fired his shot over the crossbar, with the Bernabeu faithful in full voice.

Despite their dominance of possession, Real were hit on the break as the hour mark passed. Yannick Carrasco sent Fernando Torres clear into the penalty area, and Navas had to come racing off his line to stop the Atletico frontman from slotting in an equaliser.

 Atletico manager Diego Simeone made a change when Angel Correa came on for Saul before Pepe went off, having looked to have picked up an injury in an earlier collision, and was replaced by Nacho Fernandez.

After 74 minutes, Griezmann produced a superb overhead kick as the ball was floated into the Real box from the right, which Navas deflected away, but the offside flag had gone up against the Frenchman.

Real coach Zinedine Zidane looked to freshen up his side for the closing stage as Isco replaced Kroos, while there was soon another tactical switch by Atletico when Torres trudged off as Ghanaian Thomas Partey was sent on.

With nine minutes to go, Bale was substituted for Lucas Vazquez as the home side looked to change things in their frontline.

However, it was Atletico, who will take on Leicester in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, who made the telling chance when Correa played Griezmann into the left side of the Real box, and the Rojiblancos’ leading scorer slammed a low shot past Navas.


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