Madrid derby finishes 1-1 with neither side doing quite enough to deserve the win
MADRID: Luciano Vietto’s first goal for Atletico Madrid seven minutes from time earned the hosts a deserved share of the spoils against Real Madrid in a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
Real looked on course to move top of La Liga thanks to Karim Benzema’s early header in an otherwise insipid display from Rafael Benitez’s men.
Keylor Navas produced a fine save from Antoine Griezmann’s first-half penalty, but the Costa Rican international could do little when Vietto bundled the ball home from close range in the 84th minute to concede only his second goal of the season.
And only a spectacular save from Navas prevented Jackson Martinez snatching all three points for Atletico.
Real maintain their two point lead over Atletico and move into second above Barcelona and Celta Vigo on goal difference, but remain a point behind leaders Villarreal.
“We have lost two points. We were in front and we made mistakes for the penalty and the goal,” said Benitez. “We lacked precision on the counter. We had eight chances to convert but weren’t accurate enough.”
Benitez insisted he wasn’t obsessed with building a significant lead on Barcelona, who are in the middle of an injury crisis that also includes the best player in the world Lionel Messi, before the sides clash on November 21. “We are only interested in winning every game,” said the Spaniard.
Despite his side’s late comeback, Atletico coach Diego Simeone lamented not having claimed a third consecutive derby win over Real in the league as his side rebounded from back-to-back defeats against Villarreal and Benfica.
“In the second-half we had a lot more chances. We equalised and then their keeper made a great save at the end,” said Simeone. “The sensation is that we have lost two points and that we were very close to winning a game that on chances we deserved to win.”
A point leaves Atletico still two adrift of Madrid and Barcelona, but Simeone is content with their return from a difficult start to the campaign “We are still looking for the right balance, but we have played seven games and I think 13 points aren’t bad,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2015.
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