La Liga: Atlético 4 – 0 Real Madrid
Blancos butchered in the Calderón as Atleti run riot in El Derbi
Yes, you read that scoreline right. Atlético 4-0 Real Madrid. Four. F-O-U-R. And it could’ve been more.
Fans in the Vicente Calderón were treated to a historic afternoon of football on Saturday, as Diego Simeone’s team utterly demolished rivals Real in the Madrid derby.
Tiago, Saúl Ñíguez, Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic were on target, but it was a performance to savour from the whole team and one that will live in Atléticos’ memories for the rest of their lives.
Los Blancos came into the game as favourites, and despite missing key players in defence, were boosted by the timely return of Cristiano Ronaldo from a two-match ban.
Atleti on the other hand were at full strength, with Cholo opting to leave Fernando Torres on the bench in favour of Mandzukic and Griezmann up front. It was a decision he wouldn’t regret.
However, the red and whites were dealt a blow inside the first 10 minutes as Koke limped off with what was later to be confirmed as a hamstring tear. The youngster will be out of action for the best part of a month, and was replaced by Saúl.
Four minutes later though, they were ahead, and the roof was blown off of the Calderón.
Juanfran, who hadn’t enjoyed the best of starts to 2015, was the instigator, his cross found it’s way to Mandzukic, and the Croat got his head up to lay the ball for Tiago to fire into the back of the net from 18 yards.
Just like in the Bernabéu last September, it was the Portuguese veteran who opened the scoring, although Carlo Ancelotti will probably have felt that ‘keeper Casillas could’ve done better with the shot.
Another few minutes passed, but before the shell-shocked Madrid team could even find time to catch their breath, it was two.
This time substiture Saúl was on the scoresheet, and in some style. After left-back Siqueira did well to get into the box and chip the ball back, the youngster showed great improvisation and acrobatically over-head kick home via the aid of the post.
Atleti were in dreamland, and it was to get even better. Despite the refs best efforts.
As well as the strikers were playing up front, the defence remained focused and strong, and handled everything that Madrid had to throw at them.
Godín, solid as usual, probably should have won a penalty before half-time as well, but referee Fernández Borbalán waved away the protests as Sami Khedira blocked his goalbound effort with a hand.
The German international was replaced at half-time as Ancelotti chose to throw on young forward Jesé, but his attempts to try and peg Atleti back fell flat.
Arda was imperial, Mandzukic caused an untold amount of problems for centre-backs Varane and Nacho, and Saúl was just about everywhere on the pitch.
The man who was really stealing the show though was Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman had been getting better and better since the turn of the year, and was embarrassing some of Madrid’s more acclaimed stars with his performance.
Midway through the second half he had his goal, and there could be no complaints. Real’s players must have been reminded of the 5-0 thrashing they were given by Barcelona back in 2010, as the football from Atleti was on a similar level.
This time Arda took centre stage, he cut inside and found the head of the tireless Saúl at the back post. The 20 year-old’s knockdown found it’s way to Griezmann, and he applied the simple finish for three.
Still though, the fans wanted more. The atmosphere they created throughout the 90 minutes was just on another level. It was there for the taking for Simeone and his team as well.
Madrid’s best chances came from snapshots, set-pieces and long range efforts, and even with Ronaldo back in the team – yes, he was playing – never created any real openings of note all game.
With 15 minutes to go, Fernando Torres came on to help provide the cherry on top. El Niño didn’t score, but caused further havoc to the Madrid backline with his movement and running, and created the fourth goal in the last minute.
After pulling out wide and teasing Coentrão, he played an inch perfect cross for striker partner Mandzukic, who only had to get his head onto it to beat Casillas.
4-0, and we’ll say it once more, that doesn’t do Atleti justice. The performance was just from another world, like nothing I’ve seen before even since Cholo took over.
Of course, the Argentine boss will insist that we are only thinking about the next game, but rojiblancos can dare to dream once more after a win like that.
We are still four points behind Real, but heading into the business end of the season, that could give Atleti a psychological advantage.
The annual crisis is most likely due at the Bernabéu, but more importantly, we have shown everybody that we are not to be underestimated this season.
To all the doubters, Atlético de Madrid are still very much alive, and you can be certain that the fight will go on right until the very end. Hay liga!
|Atlético Madrid||40||Real Madrid|
|07 February 2015|
|Raúl García (71')|