Atletico Madrid gained some measure of revenge for their heartbreaking Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid by beating the European champions 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
A second consecutive La Liga defeat for Real leaves them already six points adrift of leaders Barcelona after just three games as they were 2-0 winners over Athletic Bilbao earlier in the day thanks to a double from Neymar here.
Atletico got off to the best possible start as Tiago headed home Koke’s corner, but Real were soon level as Cristiano Ronaldo won and then converted a penalty midway through the first-half. However, with suspended coach Diego Simeone watching on from the stands, Atletico grabbed all three points 13 minutes from time when Arda Turan swept home Juanfran’s low cross.
Ronaldo was playing after a three-week layoff due to injury, but even his return couldn’t cure Madrid’s weakness at set-pieces which was exposed in their 4-2 defeat to Real Sociedad last time out.
Atletico went in front with the first clear opening for either side as Koke’s in-swinging corner was met with a bullet header from Tiago at the near post. The conceding of the goal led to large swathes of the Bernabeu booing Real captain Iker Casillas when he touched the ball.
However, the hosts responded well to going behind and after Miguel Angel Moya had produced a stunning save to claw away a Gareth Bale free-kick, Ronaldo levelled from the penalty spot after he had been felled by Guilherme Siqueira. Karim Benzema then had a great chance to put Real in front after a neat one-two with Ronaldo but his first touch let him down and Moya flew out from his goal to smother. And Moya denied the Frenchman once more with a great low save after Benzema had powered a Ronaldo cross towards goal just before the break. Real’s momentum towards the end of the first-half petered out after the restart, though, as Atletico began to take control after the introduction of substitutes Turan and Antoine Griezmann.
Turan was inches away from restoring Atletico’s lead when he cut inside Alvaro Arbeloa and curled the ball just wide 15 minutes from time. The Turkish international made amends just two minutes later though as he swept the ball into the far corner at the end of a lovely move involving Griezmann, Juanfran and Raul Garcia. Atletico now trail Barcelona by two points after the Catalans made it three wins from three under new boss Luis Enrique as Neymar came off the bench to score twice in a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at the Camp Nou.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas accepted some of the blame for the European champions’ latest La Liga failure after they were beaten 2-1 by city rivals and champions Atletico Madrid on Saturday. Casillas, 33, celebrated 15 years since his Real debut on Friday but a section of fans at the Bernabeu was feeling less than nostalgic and roundly whistled their captain after Atletico went ahead from a corner in the 10th minute.
Supporters elsewhere in the stadium attempted to drown out the protests with applause, while others called for president Florentino Perez to step down as big-spending Real slipped into something of a mini-crisis in the early part of the season. Casillas was beaten by a close-range header from Atletico midfielder Tiago and some fans clearly felt he could have done more to prevent the goal.
Despite the departure of Diego Lopez, who was first choice in La Liga last term while Casillas played in the Champions League, the Real captain’s place in the team is far from assured after the club bought Costa Rica stopper Keylor Navas from Levante in the close