Atletico Madrid won 2-1 at Real Madrid in the Spanish league on Saturday to take a small measure of revenge for last season’s loss of the European Cup final to its crosstown rival.
Atletico struck first through Tiago Cardoso’s header in the 10th minute, but otherwise Madriddictated the first half with Cristiano Ronaldo leveling from a penalty the forward earned in the 26th.
The second half, however, was all Atletico as Arda Turan went on and scored the 76th-minute winner before fellow substitute Antoine Griezmann went close to adding another.
Madrid’s second straight loss left it four points behind the defending champion, and six points adrift of Barcelona after the league leader beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 thanks to Neymar’s brace from a pair of passes by Lionel Messi.
“We have to analyze this problem and try to solve it quickly,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
Madrid can always say it beat Atletico in the Champions League final last May. But the reality is that Atletico, for so long so inferior to Madrid, has gotten the better of Spanish capital derbies over the past year and a half.
Under coach Diego Simeone, Atletico has won three of its last five visits to Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. It all started when Atletico won the Copa del Rey there in 2013, and it has continued with consecutive wins in league play to add to a draw before winning a second leg of the Spanish Super Cup at the Vicente Calderon in August.
Simeone’s vehement protest in that Super Cup win earned him a multi-game ban that he was still serving on Saturday from a glassed-in box where he watched assistant German Burgos keep his team unbeaten through five matches in all competitions this season.
“We don’t feel at home here, no. We have a lot of respect for these grounds,” Simeone said. “It’s difficult to win here but we had a good start. Later, I didn’t like how we played because we lost the ball. Moving Koke into midfield gave us more fluidity, Arda going on gave us playmaking, and Griezmann gave us speed.”
Tiago took the opener when he slipped inside Karim Benzema’s mark to head in Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion’s corner kick at the near post.
Madrid looked to Ronaldo to answer, and he showed no sign of his recent injury that kept him sidelined for the past two weeks when he blew by Siqueira, who fouled him in the area to set up his spot kick.
Simeone’s ruse of reserving Griezmann as a second-half reinforcement with Turan, who recently recovered from injury, worked to perfection as the attacking players picked apart Madrid’sweary defense.
Javier Hernandez made his debut for Madrid after his transfer from Manchester United when he replaced Benzema, but it was Turan who fired the ball just by the post in the 73rd in a warning of what was to come.
Griezmann played Juanfran Torres free on the right flank for him to cross the ball toward two unmarked Atletico players. Raul Garcia let the ball roll by for the better-positioned Turan to drill beyond the diving Iker Casillas.
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