Real Madrid stay top of La Liga after goalless draw with Atletico Madridhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/football/la-liga/real-madrid-top-goalless-draw-atletico-madrid-6037933/

Real Madrid stay top of La Liga after goalless draw with Atletico Madrid

As Madrid saw a stalemate between Zinedine Zidane and Diego Simeone's men, Real Madrid stayed on top of the table having a lead of just one point over rivals Atletico Madrid, and Granada.

Real Madrid’s Casemiro and Atletico Madrid’s Angel Correa after the match. (Source: Reuters)

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid failed to produce any fireworks in a lackluster derby at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, sharing a 0-0 draw that allowed Barcelona to move closer to the top in La Liga.

Champions Barcelona shrugged off the absence of Lionel Messi to win 2-0 at Getafe and close within two points of leader Real Madrid.

“It was a derby in which neither team did enough to win,” Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak said. “No team deserved to lose either, so it was a fair result. These matches are complicated. You want to win, but at the same time you also don’t want to lose. You can’t risk too much.”

Oblak was crucial in keeping the scores level, making an outstanding reflex save from Karim Benzema’s 75th-minute header.

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Real Madrid stayed one point ahead of Atletico and promoted Granada, which defeated Leganes 1-0 to register a fourth win in seven matches. Real Sociedad can take the lead on Sunday if it wins at eighth-place Sevilla.

“It was important to keep a clean sheet again,” Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said. “We played very well defensively. In attack, we could have done more, but we are working on it, we want to keep improving offensively.”

Atletico’s best opportunity came less than 10 minutes into the match when teenage forward Joao Felix went close following a counterattack. Felix went off in the second half, drawing jeers from the crowd toward coach Diego Simeone.

Eden Hazard had a quiet game alongside Benzema and Gareth Bale in the visiting attack, and Luka Modric couldn’t do much either when he came off the bench in the second half.

The result extended Atletico’s four-year winless streak at home against Real Madrid in the league.

Atletico has won only one of its last 19 home games against Real Madrid in the league, with the sole victory coming in February 2015. Real Madrid’s 3-1 victory at the Wanda last season was Atletico’s only defeat in its last 24 home games in the league.

It was the first match between the rivals since Atletico stunned Real Madrid 7-3 in a friendly in the United States in July.

TER STEGEN ASSIST

Barcelona overcame the absence of the injured Messi to beat Getafe, with Luis Suarez scoring off a long pass from goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Junior Firpo also netted for Barcelona, which had defender Clement Lenglet sent off for a bad foul on 82 minutes.

Ter Stegen set up Suarez’s opening goal in the 41st after leaving his area to stop a breakaway. He controlled the ball with his chest before sending it upfield to leave Suarez in a one-on-one situation against Getafe goalkeeper David Soria. The Uruguay striker then calmly lobbed Soria for his third goal of the season.

“Let’s not fool ourselves, I saw him, but not that clearly,” Ter Stegen said with a smile. “It was perfect timing and Luis took advantage of it. It was a wonderful goal.”

Firpo scored his first goal for Barcelona from close range in the 49th after being set up by Carles Perez, Messi’s replacement up front.

It was the first away win for Barcelona, and its first league game without conceding.

“It you want to win the league you need to win these difficult away matches,” coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Messi was out again after injuring his left abductor muscle in the first half of Barcelona’s 2-1 win against Villarreal on Tuesday, his first start of the season following a long layoff because of a right calf injury sustained in pre-season.

Valverde was also without Ousmane Dembele because of a muscle problem.

Getafe, which dropped to 11th, had been unbeaten since a loss at Atletico in its league opener.

ATHLETIC FALLS

Valencia ended Athletic Bilbao’s unbeaten streak with a 1-0 away victory. Denis Cheryshev scored for Valencia, which ended a three-game winless streak.

Athletic and Real Madrid were the only unbeaten teams going into the weekend. Athletic hadn’t lost at home in 14 consecutive matches.

Valencia had conceded nine goals in its previous three league games.

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“I liked how the players responded,” Valencia coach Albert Celades said. “We were coming off a sequence of very difficult matches. They put in a great effort.”