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The gaping difference between Madrid and Atleti

The fear that Real Madrid instilled in opponents has been an advantage during long periods of the club’s history. But that fear has been eroded with this poor current side.   

Without Mbappé, Cavani and Neymar, PSG had reasons to be frightened of Zidane’s men, but the home side showed no such fear in Paris. They played well and with ease, running in comfortable winners with three goals. A former Bernabéu favourite, Angel Di María, scored two, the first of which was facilitated by a blunder from Courtois, while the third goal from Meunier exposed the shambles that was Madrid’s back line.

What PSG lacked with the absence of Mbappé, Cavani and Neymar is what Madrid had: a potent attacking trio in Bale, Benzema and Hazard. But the discord between the three was such that they had very little involvement. Bale had a good first half and even managed to score, but the goal was correctly ruled out for a handball by the Welsh striker. Benzema scored another, which was also ruled for an offside in the build-up. But those were only two shots on target (albethey invalid) that the attacking trident created. 

With Madrid short in the middle and Sergio Ramos’ absence leaving the defence insecure, PSG found ample room to manoeuvre and did so superbly. It was another warning for Los Blancos, whose poor performance over the summer has continued into the season. 

Atlético’s stunning comeback

Back here in Madrid, a courageous Atlético managed a stunning comeback against a firm Juventus side at the Wanda, where Cuadrado gave Simeone’s men a lesson down the right wing.  At 2-0 down, Atlético must be applauded for not dropping their heads; the players and the crowd stood united, drawing on their never-say-die character to carve out two goals in the final 20 minutes.  

Vitolo's entrance contributed to the momentum, while Hector Herrera, who arrived on a free from Porto in the summer, came on to score on his debut with a beautifully placed header in the 90th minute. Those two contributions from the bench were essential to the comeback.  

A draw at home is not a good result in itself, but the way it was achieved was a major positive for Simeone’s side. The gaping difference between Atlético and Madrid was that the former had unyielding belief while the latter did not, hence the respective outcomes on Wednesday night.