Real Madrid won. The better team won. Atletico started both halves well, but didn’t go much further than that. In the first period, it was Madrid’s pure good play, orchestrated by the magisterial Isco that killed Atleti’s promising opening. In the second, with the game still at 0-1 and Atletico pressuring and threatening once again, an unnecessary penalty given away by Savic effectively ended the game. Madrid left the Calderón nine points clear of their city rivals and moved four ahead of Barça, who earlier on Saturday afternoon fell to an unexpected draw at home to Malaga. Missing both Suárez and Messi, their best attacker turned out to be Gerard Piqué, whose efforts were ultimately in vain.
Isco finally in a position that suits him
That draw at Camp Nou was good news prior to the derby for both Madrid sides, but only one took advantage: Real. As it happened, injuries perhaps helped Zidane. Without Benzema and Morata, he sent his team out with Cristiano alone up front followed by a line of three: Lucas Vázquez-Isco-Bale. After them, Kovacic and Modric. The team worked very well, with all players in positions that suited their play perfectly, except perhaps Kovacic, who did tremendously to adapt to an uncomfortable role. Everyone played well, and particularly Isco, who was thankful to play at last in a place that suits him.
Firm without the ball, brilliant with it
The first half was a great one for Madrid, though the second half not so much. That could have been through fatigue or due to an improved Atletico, but before finding himself in some tight spots, Cristiano – who had already scored a deflected freekick – won himself a penalty which he duly converted. Then he’d tap in his third after a brilliant counter-attack by Isco and Bale. It was an emphatic scoreline – one which will seem unfair to some – but one which rewarded a Madrid that were firm without the ball, brilliant with it, well balanced, solid and had a formidable Cristiano in attack. His hat trick once again gives us measure of his attacking potency.