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Both needed to win, but it ended level...

Both needed to win, but it ended level...

Earlier on Saturday afternoon, and not too far away from the Wanda Metropolitano, Barça made their own contribution to the Madrid derby by winning in Leganés. Perhaps it wasn’t the best Barça display, we could even say that they had their goalkeeper to thank for the result, but they ended opening up a 10-point lead over both of their Madrid-based rivals. It meant that both Atleti and Madrid were obliged to win - particularly Madrid. And that was the sensation which dominated the atmosphere in the hours leading up to the game... but not so much during it. Neither team went all out for the win – maybe more so Madrid, and only towards the end. Neither Atlético nor Madrid looked self-assured, or confident of their own possibilities.

Chances at a premium

It was Atleti who started strongest, and that took Madrid a little by surprise. The visitors seemed a little taken aback at being put under the cosh by the hosts – to the point where they even played the ball back into their own area three time and were let off the hook, incredulously, by a Correa mistake. That half chance and a long-range free-kick from Cristiano were the only real chances on goal during the game. The rest was passion, force and constant protests to a cowardly ref. Atleti’s vigour characterized the game and only when the Rojiblancos took their foot off the pedal, did Madrid appear in the game – and always with Isco leading the charge. He had an immense game and was by far and away Madrid’s best playero n the pitch.

Barcelona pull away at the top

The game improved after the break. Both coaches made daring changes and their players got the message - suddenly, a draw wouldn’t be enough. Torres, who replaced Griezmann, who seemed annoyed to be taken off, was involved in a breakaway move with Gameiro which almost produced a goal. That injected new life into the game, and from then on, the game livened up. There were a few scares at either end, but no real clear-cut chances. Right at the end, Madrid, pressed with urgency but only Isco looked coherent going forward. So it ended in a draw and Barça open up a 10-point lead.