Atletico Madrid stood tall in the Madrid derby as they ended Real Madrid’s perfect start to the season with a 3-1 emphatic victory at Civitas Metropolitano yesterday.
Los Rojiblancos enjoyed a dream start after going two goals up inside 18 minutes, with star forwards Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann scoring two headers as a hapless Madrid defence watched on.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side responded quickly as Toni Kroos’ imperious strike from outside the box helped them half the deficit.
However, Madrid’s hopes were broken a few minutes into the second half after Morata netted his second half of the night with another header.
The visitors’ quest for a comeback yielded no result as Atletico wrapped up the game with a comprehensive victory.
Los Merengues were the favourites due to their dominance in the derby in recent years, coupled with a 100% winning record this season.
However, Atletico – despite being highly inconsistent this term – ended their arch-rivals’ prolonged stay at the top of the La Liga table.
Here are some of the key takeaways from Atletico’s derby win.
Madrid’s shambolic defence a letdown
Madrid boasted the best defensive record in La Liga before the game – conceding only three goals in five outings.
However, that reputation was tarnished as their defensive errors cost them dearly.
All the goals were almost replicas of each other, with Atletico players crossing the ball and scoring without breaking sweat.
Griezmann and Morata were left unmarked on each occasion, and this kind of defending is unacceptable at this level.
Diego Simeone’s side weren’t extraordinary in their approach, but Madrid’s reckless defending played to their advantage.
Morata steals the show with a huge performance
Morata continued his impressive start to the season with an exceptional display against his former club.
Los Merengues’ defence was found wanting, and Morata fully exploited it by scoring two precise headers.
The Spaniard took his tally to five goals in La Liga this season and is currently at the top of the scoring charts.
The performance against his former club should have elevated his spirit. If he continues this form, he can aim for his best-ever productive season with Atletico.
Pressure on Madrid as Barcelona move to the top of La Liga
Propelled by Jude Bellingham’s stellar heroics, Madrid’s had enjoyed a dream start to the season.
However, everything came to a halt in the derby, with Madrid producing their worst performance of the campaign.
Madrid desperately need Vinicius to return
The derby defeat also highlighted Vinicius Junior’s importance and how Madrid’s attack looks toothless without him.
Bellingham has bailed out Madrid single-handedly on several occasions this season, but when he wasn’t at his best last night, they fell apart.
The talismanic midfielder is carrying a heavy goalscoring burden, and Vinicius is needed by Madrid more than ever.
Vinicius was expected to return to action in the derby after weeks of absence due to injury, but he was withdrawn from the squad at the last moment due to gastroenteritis.
The 23-year-old has been viewed as the new leader of Madrid’s attack since the departure of Karim Benzema.
The sooner the Brazilian winger takes to the field, the better things will be for Los Blancos, who lack a difference-maker in attack.
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