Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid: Ronaldo brace ensures derby win
Real Madrid saw off city rivals Atlético in an exciting and ultimately satisfying win for José Mourinho’s men.
Atléti’s wait for a derby win will click into a thirteenth year, but for 45 minutes at least they gave their neighbours a game.
Adrián López shot Atlético into a shock early lead, but Madrid regained control when Thibaut Courtois was dismissed for a professional foul on Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo equalised from the penalty spot.
The second period saw the La Liga leaders canter to a thirteenth succesive victory with goals from Angel di María, Gonzalo Higuaín and another Ronaldo penalty after Diego Godín also saw red.
Atlético coach Gregorio Manzano had predicted an “aggressive and ugly” game, and the opening minutes saw his players eager to get stuck in and the home side struggle for rhythm.
This approach appeared to be working when Atlético went ahead with their first real attack. Adrián cut inside from the left-wing, played a neat one-two with Diego, and calmly clipped the ball past Iker Casillas.
With Madrid looking rattled Diego headed wide from Filipe Luis’ cross. That was to prove an important miss as Benzema was soon felled by Courtois inside the area. Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz flashed his red card and Ronaldo sent sub-keeper Sergio Asenjo the wrong way.
The second half was less exciting. Three minutes in Ronaldo outpaced Perea down the left and his scuffed cross-shot took out Asenjo and his defenders leaving Di María to fire into the unguarded net.
Mourinho looked to kill the game by withdrawing Di María for Higuaín and it worked. Godín failed to deal with a long ball and the Argentine striker nipped in, hurdled Asenjo and scored.
The Uruguayan defender’s night got even worse late on when he was sent off for bundling over Higuaín. Ronaldo again dispatched the penalty with relish.
Earlier, across the city at Rayo Vallecano, a late goal wasn’t enough as Valencia won 2-1 to further cement their position as La Liga’s third best team.