Atletico Madrid's record at the Wanda Metropolitano can be seen in two ways. Ever since moving from Vicente Calderon to the newer facilities, Atletico have played 42 games in the league, won 29, drawn 11, lost two and have not allowed the opposition to score in 29 games. The latest addition to the stat came by way of a 0-0 draw on Saturday night against Real Madrid.
Now for the second side of the stat, a more deeper look if you will. Atletico are yet to beat Real ever since moving with two draws and a defeat. The stalemate on Saturday meant Rojiblancos have just one win at home over their local rivals in 20 years (4-0 in 2015). When you see things from a Real Madrid perspective, they have now registered just two wins in 16 matches over their derbi rivals. That "looking for a worthy rival for a decent derby" banner from certain Real Madrid fans from some years ago continues to hold. And yet, it could have been a great win for the visitors.
Real Madrid enjoyed the lion's share of the possession (56 percent to 44 percent), had more shots (14 to 7) and more shots on target (3 to 1) to boss things. There were two glorious chances for Real to seal the deal. Karim Benzema's towering header was tipped away by Jan Oblak and in another, Gareth Bale got to the end of a Nacho Fernandez cutback in the box with the Atletico defence caught off guard but the Welshman blazed his left-footed effort over.
As is the norm with recent Madrid derbies, things were cagey, duels extremely well contested and the midfield playing a very important role in how things pan out. Not so surprisingly then both managers tried to assert their control in the middle of the park with less creative options. Zinedine Zidane went for Fede Valverde in place of James Rodriguez and Diego Simeone opted for the pairing of Saul Niguez, to be more defensively solid, and Thomas Partey for the occasional bursts of pace.
Joao Felix, Atletico Madrid's most expensive signing in the summer, went across the face of the goal early on in the first half but thereafter had little to offer. Plenty of credit for that should go to Casemiro who stuck with the Portuguese throughout and man marked him beautifully. Playing just his first Madrid derby, Felix was pushed, shoved and outmuscled to the ground.
It wasn't a great start to life in the Madrid capital for Real's big signing either. Eden Hazard was equally lackluster and equally ineffective. Bar one dribble and a tackle near the half hour mark, Hazard was largely invisible and was taken off in the 76th minute for James.
Partey produced one of the best chances as far as Atletico were concerned. After a little give-and-go with Kieran Trippier on the right, the Ghanaian spread a sublime low cross for an Atletico Madrid player to go after. Diego Costa went for it on the far post but it was a desperate attempt which ended up earning Real a foul for late tackle on Nacho. In the second half, Luka Modric produced pretty much the same chance. Also hogging the right wing, Modric spread the ball across Oblak's goal but the difference was that neither Benzema or Hazard went for it.
Real Madrid leave the Metropolitano knowing they continue to stand top of LaLiga standings and are now the only unbeaten side in the Primera Division after Athletic Bilbao were beaten by Valencia. Considering the chances that came Real's way and how little Atletico created or were not allowed to create, they'd be slightly displeased with a 0-0 result - an assessment shared by Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos who played his 40th Madrid derby.
"It was an extremely physical game. We knew the Wanda is one of the toughest places to come all season and our aim of taking all three points wasn't to be. We've kept a clean sheet and created chances. Atleti are a very solid team, we had Benzema's effort, but the point is a bit underwhelming. We're still unbeaten though and have to keep it up," he said at full time.
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Updated Date: Sep 29, 2019 09:00:32 IST