Asuperb performance from goalkeeper Jan Oblak helped Atletico Madrid scratch out a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid in the Madrid derby on Sunday afternoon at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Oblak made a number of huge saves on the day, as did counterpart Keylor Navas, in what was an exemplary exhibition of goalkeeping from both stoppers.
There were goals as well, with Cristiano Ronaldo finding the net with a 53rd minute strike, which was answered four minutes later by Griezmann to stretch the Colchoneros’ unbeaten run in league play in the Bernabeu to five matches.
Real boss Zinedine Zidane’s defence was unchanged from the team that downed Juventus in midweek, however in midfield and up top there were changes, with Mateo Kovacic, Lucas Vazquez, Marco Asensio and Gareth Bale in for Casemiro, Luka Modric, Isco and Karim Benzema. As for Atletico, manager Diego Simeone surprised onlookers by slotting in Vitolo ahead of Gabi.
There was plenty of early pressure from the men in white and Oblak had to react quickly to not allow Cristiano Ronaldo to bundle in a corner kick at the back post.
Then came a shout for a penalty when Toni Kroos went down after a collision with Juanfran, but there was no whistle from referee Estrada Fernandez. Asensio stayed alert though on the play and was within inches of scoring but his shot rang off the crossbar. Oblak was called on again to make another block in front of his goal, this time snuffing out a Raphael Varane chance.
Atletico started to find their footing and Diego Costa was first to threaten Navas’ goal via a counterattack with a bullet at the near post, but the Costa Rican was ready and made the save.
It was mostly one-way traffic though, as the Atletico defence was dug deep in their own half and facing a Real barrage. The Colchoneros were spared once more when a fiercely hit Marcelo shot hit the crossbar and the follow up from Dani Carvajal was Oblak-ed.
Real’s domination continued into the second-half and the dam finally broke early after the re-start when Bale lofted a ball across from the left that Ronaldo connected on to put Real ahead 1-0.
It was also just the tonic needed to kickstart Atletico. Not even five minutes had elapsed and Griezmann pulled the Colchoneros level 1-1. Griezmann played a pass inside to Vitolo, who was denied by Navas but the rebound fell perfectly for the French striker to fire in for the equaliser.
Now Atletico were the ones flying, and Koke was set to rocket home their second goal in minutes on another loose ball in the box, only for Navas to make a massive save.
Another surprise was to come, this time from the Real bench as Zidane took off Ronaldo and brought on Benzema, in what had to have been a decision already agreed upon to keep the Portuguese superstar rested and ready for this week’s Champions League affair.
Real’s intensity waned Ronaldo’s departure, but the spark quickly came back with the introduction of Isco and Luka Modric. On the other side, a Vitolo made way for Angel Correa a frustrated Diego Costa yielded his spot to Gabi.
Zidane’s men regained the momentum and had Atletico pegged back in their own box in search of a late winner. The best chance came from a late Sergio Ramos free-kick, but Oblak soared to deny the Real centre-back another memorable second-half stoppage time goal against the Colchoneros, forcing Real to settle for the draw.
– Match facts:
1.- Real Madrid: Keylor; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Lucas, Kovacic (Modric, min. 72), Kroos, Asensio (Isco, min. 72); Cristiano (Benzema, min. 63), Bale.
1.- Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Juanfran, Savic, Godín, Lucas; Vitolo (Correa, min. 61), Saul, Thomas (Gameiro, min. 82), Koke; Griezmann, Diego Costa (Gabi, min. 71).
Goals: 1-0, min. 53: Ronaldo; 1-1, min. 57: Griezmann
Referee: Estrada Fernandez (Catalonian).
Yellow Cards: Kroos (Min. 14) for Real Madrid, Vitolo (Min. 17) for Atletico Madrid, Thomas (Min. 34) for Atletico Madrid, Lucas Vazquez (Min. 88) for Real Madrid, Lucas Hernandez (Min. 89) for Atletico Madrid
Stadium: Santiago Bernabeu