A draw between Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid at the Metropolitano. Bad for Atleti, good for Barça, good for LaLiga and good for Madrid, who found a lifeline to cling to. They are still five points off Atlético, possibly more after they play their game in hand on Wednesday against Athletic. And two behind Barça who are on the way up. But this is Madrid and yesterday they confirmed how difficult it is to truly write them off. Because for 70 minutes they played really badly, undone by Atlético, who stopped them coming out, controlled the play and had a number of men at their very best, particularly Llorente and Luis Suárez, who set up the opening goal for Simeone's men.
Real Madrid kept going out of desperation
Until the 70th minute, Real Madrid were Courtois, Casemiro and little more. But in the second half Atlético started sitting back, to launch counterattacks they failed to make the most of. Their substitutions (Lemar and Carrasco went off) did them no favours. Madrid, on the other hand, did far better, with Zidane taking off his favourites Rodrygo and Asensio for Valverde and Vinicius, who were far better for this encounter. Atleti sat further and further back, with the counterattacks getting longer and longer as they ran out of puff. In fact both sides were tired, but Madrid kept going out of sheer desperation. And so came their goal, a beautiful one-two between Casemiro and Benzema, who was back.
Apart from the 1-1 that keeps LaLiga alive, the game contained a piece of action that confirmed once and for all the situation with handballs... as in, nobody knows what is and isn't a handball. If two referees, both in the group of the 20 best in Spain, can take their time watching the repetitions on the monitor and not be in agreement, who can say what's going on? On the pitch, Hernández Hernández decided it wasn't. In the VAR room González González (who is aiming for chicken sexer of the year) thought it was. That's why he told Hernández Hernández to review it. In my opinion, looking at it under the Old Testament rules it wasn't a penalty. But I've seen them given. This is the lousy situation we've been put in.