Real Madrid raid the Wanda
Madrid moved ahead of Atlético after winning five in a row for the first time in 18 months while condemning the hosts to a second straight defeat.
Real Madrid beat city rivals Atlético 3-1 on Saturday to move up to second in LaLiga and within five points of leaders Barcelona in a game marked by VAR interventions and a paucity of accuracy by both sides.
A total of six shots on target tells one half of the story, with Atlético’s 28 tackles and Real’s 20 turnovers providing the rest. A scrappy affair eventually, and overall deservedly, went Madrid’s way but the television dissection over the next few days will centre on Real’s second when Vinicius appeared to be felled outside the area before Sergio Ramos hammered in a penalty to make it 2-1.
Casemiro opened the scoring with an overhead from Toni Kroos’ corner, Atlético’s defence drawn to Ramos like so many moths to a flame. Antoine Griezmann then equalised, Real contesting the goal on the grounds that Ángel Correa had committed a foul in the build-up, but VAR favoured the home side.
VAR has a busy day in the Metropolitano
Twice the eye in the sky would make decisive calls, first for the Vinicius penalty and then denying Álvaro Morata a second equaliser when the former Real forward broke from midfield and expertly chipped Thibaut Courtois. Whether the Spain striker was offside or not will be the game’s second main point of contention.
What cannot be denied is Real’s supremacy from that point on. Santiago Solari’s substitutions served to improve his side while Diego Simeone’s seemed to disjoint his, the attacking verve of Correa being sacrificed for an attempt to wrest control of the midfield.
Gareth Bale, on for Vinicius, completed the smash-and-grab with a trademark goal towards the end, running onto a Luka Modric pass and threading a shot between the outstretched glove of Oblak and the far post.
That completed a fifth consecutive Liga victory for Madrid – the first time in 18 months such rude form has been achieved and enough to take Real from fifth to second – and condemned Atlético to a second straight defeat for the first time since November 2016: not a seismic shift in capital city ascendancy, but a potentially fateful blow to Simeone’s chances of lifting the title this season.