Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid exchanged set-piece goals in the final 15 minutes of a subdued 1-1 derby draw on Saturday evening.
Jose Gimenez put the visitors in front after Angel Correa’s second-half red card but 18-year-old Alvaro Rodriguez came off the bench to rescue the hosts with an 85th-minute equaliser.
Four days after a boisterous and breathless Champions League tie against Liverpool, Real’s first half against Atletico was played in slow-motion by comparison. Diego Simeone’s side were chiefly responsible for the dialled-down tempo, desperately reluctant to press their city rivals and all too eager to retreat onto the edge of their own box.
Real cranked up the pace after the interval – although, if the game had been played any slower then Simeone would have clocked the match’s fastest sprint darting across his own technical area.
Carlo Ancelotti hardly racks up the step count on the sidelines but showed his displeasure by changing his entire three-man midfield shortly after the hour mark. Moments after Real had three new faces on the pitch, Atletico lost one.
20 minutes after coming off the bench, Correa tried to untangle himself from Antonio Rudiger’s touch-tight marking by jamming an elbow in the centre-back’s chest. Despite Simeone’s half-hearted protestations, Correa was sent off.
Atletico were playing with a hand hovering over the handbrake when there was numerical parity, Correa’s 64th-minute dismissal didn’t dramatically alter their approach or reduce their sporadic threat going forward.
Gimenez proved as much when he nodded Atletico in front in the 78th minute, enjoying a free run onto Antoine Griezmann’s set-piece delivery before glancing a header beyond his former teammate Thibaut Courtois.
Atletico were allowed to dream about a first victory at the Santiago Bernabeu for eight minutes. Real’s teenage substitute Alvaro Rodriguez had failed to challenge Gimenez for the opener but proved to be much more at home in the opposition penalty area, leaping above a pack of players exclusively older than him to steer a maiden senior goal in off the post.
GK: Thibaut Courtois – 4/10 – Unconvincing with the ball at his feet, though not to quite the same extent as his Anfield error.
RB: Dani Carvajal – 5/10 – Prepared to scamper forward, countering the threat of Atletico’s wide men by pinning them back.
CB: Eder Militao – 6/10 – Always defending on the balls of his feet, perennially posed to steal the ball ahead of his opposite forward.
CB: Antonio Rudiger – 5/10 – Surprised to be beaten in a race by Marcos Llorente but not overly exposed elsewhere.
LB: Nacho Fernandez – 5/10 – Elicited a swell of applause borne out of surprise as much as appreciation for the nifty footwork the make-shift full-back performed. The mis-hit cross he immediately followed it up with was more in character.
CM: Fede Valverde – 6/10 – Fully of industry and energy but not a great deal of end product.
CM: Toni Kroos – 6/10 – Sweeping up as the deepest midfielder, almost every sustained sequence of Madrid passing began with Kroos.
CM: Dani Ceballos – 6/10 – Sneaking between the lines, sniffing out little pockets of space Atletico allowed to open up.
RW: Marco Asensio – 4/10 – Stung Jan Oblak’s gloves with an early long range effort which encouraged him to shoot on site thereafter.
ST: Karim Benzema – 5/10 – Floating around the peripheries of the contest.
LW: Vinicius Junior – 4/10 – Buzzing up and down the left flank without quite finding a way through the blockade.
Eduardo Camavinga (63′ for Kroos) – 6/10
Aurelien Tchouameni (63′ for Asensio) – 6/10
Luka Modric (64′ for Ceballos) – 6/10
Alvaro Rodriguez (77′ for Nacho) – 6/10
Lucas Vazquez (83′ for Carvajal) – N/A
Carlo Ancelotti – 5/10 – Failed to rally his side in the wake of their Anfield euphoria. Tried to spark a change with a triple substitution which never really materialised but the late arrival of Alvaro proved decisive.
GK: Jan Oblak – 5/10 – Dealt with what little was thrown his way.
RB: Nahuel Molina – 6/10 – Offered Atletico width down the right flank on both sides of the ball.
CB: Stefan Savic – 6/10 – Reliably solid in a familiarly reserved rearguard.
CB: Mario Hermoso – 5/10 – Ushered into the complex hybrid role on the left of Atletico’s backline after Reinildo’s early departure.
LB: Reinildo – N/A – Forced off on a stretcher midway through the first half after an awkward (and unintentional) tangle with Valverde.
RM: Pablo Barrios – 6/10 – A youthful, wriggling nuisance before harshly being subbed off during the half-time interval.
CM: Koke – 5/10 – Struggled to exert an influence on proceedings.
CM: Saul Niguez – 3/10 – Yannick Carrasco’s cover rarely got involved on the ball.
LM: Yannick Carrasco – 5/10 – At times dropping alongside Reinildo as a wing-back but also tasked with supporting Griezmann through the middle.
ST: Marcos Llorente – 5/10 – Roaming around at full throttle throughout, Llorente was Atletico’s closest foil to Griezmann before Correa’s half-time arrival.
ST: Antoine Griezmann – 4/10 – Didn’t lubricate Atletico’s play nearly enough to justify constantly dropping off the frontline and robbing Atletico of a forward option.
Jose Gimenez (23′ for Reinildo) – 7/10
Angel Correa (46′ for Barrios) – 2/10
Thomas Lemar (57′ for Llorente) – 5/10
Axel Witsel (76′ for Koke) – N/A
Alvaro Morata (76′ for Saul) – N/A
Diego Simeone – 6/10 – Ultimately, the tactics of defence first, second and third worked in open play. Real only found a way back into the contest via a dead ball that could have been defended better.