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62′ A double substitution from Diego Simeone now. The first sees Fernando Torres leave the field to be replaced by Kevin Gameiro, who didn’t feature in the starting XI today after picking up a knock whilst on international duty with France. Lets see if he can make an impact.
60′ Unfortunately for Atletico, they have been unable to take advantage of that period of pressure after the break and Madrid are starting to find their feet in terms of possession again, with Modric and Kovacic in particular doing well to tone down the tempo of the play by exchanging short, patient passes.
58′ For the first time in the second half Real Madrid show something inside the opposition half as Modric opens up his stride with a penetrating run through the middle. He attempts to shift possession sideways to one of his onrushing team-mates, but a truly vital interception from Godin sees Atletico survive.
56′ Simeone is, naturally, acting as the head cheerleader for this Vicente Calderon faithful, who are buoyed by Atletico’s fast start to the second half. The way this is going it won’t take too long until they equalise, but the hosts need to capitalise on this period of huge, huge pressure on the Madrid goal.
54′ Griezmann receives the ball to feet down the left wing and cuts inside into a more crowded area before exchanging a tight one-two with Torres who has his back to goal. The former gets possession back and goes for the right-footed strike from 25 yards this time, but Nacho makes the brave block on this occasion.
52′ Now this is much more like in from Atletico Madrid and Griezmann in particular. Madrid will be worried with their start though as another sloppy pass hands possession to the visitors, with the former Sociedad man pouncing to run through the middle before whipping a strike at goal. Navas makes the save, which is more than he had to do in the entire first half.
50′ Gabi finds himself in an advanced position this time and is given enough time just to clip a neat pass in behind the Madrid defence for Griezmann. The Frenchman collects possession in a cracking position inside the box and fires a shot-cum-cross low along the six-yard box, but there are no takers for the hosts! Torres and Koke was begging for the reverse ball.
48′ As probably expected, Atletico have made a flying start out of the blocks in the second period having been doubtless given a stern telling off from Simeone. Indeed, Madrid are struggling to get out of their defensive positions, only managing to get a bit of respite after a superb strike from Carrasco flashes JUST wide of the top corner.
46′ The Madrid Derby is back under way!
Half-time in the Vicente Calderon. Real Madrid look on course to extent the lead at the top of the Liga table as they go into the break 1-0 up over Atletico Madrid, with a deflected Ronaldo free-kick the difference between the sides so far. Los Blancos look good value for the three points, but Simeone’s men will likely improve in the second period.
44′ Atletico can’t really get any less effective than they have been in this first half so Simeone basically can basically work with a blank page during his team talk. We can expect a much better performance out of the Colchoneros after they have received a kick up the backside from their Argentine boss.
42′ Torres chests down for Koke down the right-hand side and with Madrid still in retreat, Atletico counter with pace. Carrasco leads the charge with a penetrating run through the middle before finding Torres again out wide, but the resulting cross into the box is commandingly cleared behind for a corner-kick by Varane.
40′ Five minutes to go in the opening half of this Madrid Derby and at the moment Real Madrid are looking good value for their half-time lead. One thing which will still inspire confidence in Simeone is that he has a cracking bench at his disposal, with the likes of Gameiro, Gaitan, and Correa all eager to get on and impress.
38′ The previous entry was the first mention of Griezmann so far which tells you a lot about the Frenchman’s contribution to the match so far. He can of course pop up with a goal at any point, but he hasn’t exactly lit up the Vicente Calderon with his performance as of yet.
36′ Juanfran moves down the right wing unopposed and then feeds a neat ball into the channel for Carrasco, who has been quiet so far. The Belgian attempts to affect the game positively by swinging a wicked cross into the centre of the box, but it ends up evading both Griezmann and Torres as Marcelo manages to clear.
34′ Zidane is currently sweating over the fitness of Isco as the former Malaga man, who makes a rare start for Madrid tonight, appears to have picked up a knock at some point in the opening 34 minutes. It would be a real shame if he is forced to withdraw as he has been excellent so far for Los Blancos, but no changes made as of yet.
32′ It may have been a very fortunate opener for Ronaldo and Real Madrid, but there can be no denying that they deserve to be ahead. Oblak has been tested a few times between the sticks for Atletico, while Navas has barely been called into action for Los Blancos which will certainly be cause for concern for Simeone.
30′ Isco pops up in his favourite position between the opposition defence and midfield and collets the ball to feet before threading a neat pass in behind the Atletico defence for Ronaldo. The Portuguese cleverly turns back on to his right foot beyond his marker to get the strike away, but there isn’t much power behind it which allows Oblak to save comfortably.
28′ Atletico finally earn their first corner-kick of the match after some decent work from Koke, who takes the resulting set-piece. However, it is disappointing from the Spaniard who fails to get the cross beyond the first man at the front post despite the likes of Godin and Savic ready to latch on to a header. With Sergio Ramos only on the bench for Madrid, Atletico should be looking to make much more out of their aerial set-pieces.
26′Gabriel Fernández Arenas
26′ First yellow card of the match now which has been coming for some time. The guilty party is Gabi who body-checks Modric with a very strong challenge in the middle of the pitch which leaves the Croatian in a heap face-down on the surface.
23′Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro
23′ GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLL FOR REAL MADRID! The visitors take the lead, and it fortuitous fashion! Ronaldo steps up for the free-kick and smashes it straight into the wall, but it cannons off the hip of Savic and nestles perfectly in the bottom corner past the helpless Oblak! One nil, what a kick in the teeth for Simeone’s men!
22′ Vazquez turns sharply in the middle of the park and takes the game to Atletico with a powerful run through the middle before being took out by Savic, who leaves out a dangling leg to concede the foul in a dangerous area. The free-kick is from far out so not totally in Ronaldo territory, but he will have a crack regardless.
20′ SAAAAAAVE FROM OBLAK! The hosts attempt to play out at the back but Godin mistakenly gives the ball away to the feet of Ronaldo, who in turn ushers possession to Modric. The Croatian uses the run of Bale to gain a yard and goes for the lashed strike on goal, but the Atleti goalkeeper gets down to his left to make the comfortable stop.
18′ The game is being played at a blistering pace out there now and it is meaning that whenever a player receives the ball to feet they are instantly hounded with opposition players looking to pounce in for the tackle. The feisty nature of the proceedings is certainly entertaining, but surely this tempo can’t be maintained for 90 minutes?
16′ Madrid are enjoying a nice little period of sustained possession at the moment but it is coming without much opposition from Atletico who are quite happy to sit back in two banks of four to soak up the pressure. Usually Madrid would rely on the Kroos to unlock such sturdy defences, but with the German out injured the spotlight is more on Modric and Isco to do so.
14′ For the first time in the match the Atletico defence becomes a bit disjointed at the back and this allows Madrid to press forward into space. Ronaldo looks to latch on to a loose bit of possession on the edge of the box to get the shot away, but is far too preoccupied with trying to burst the net rather than ensuring the connection is made, and the result is a fluffed attempt which catalyses some jeers from the home crowd.
12′ Ronaldo actually goes up to the referee and claims that the ball crossed over the line from that Oblak save, but the referee is having none of it and waves away the protests. If it wasn’t in, it was certainly close to be.
11′ WHAT AN INCREDIBLE SAVE FROM OBLAK! A magical bit of play from Isco eventually sees Marcelo pick up possession down the wing before standing a teasing cross deep to the back post. Ronaldo leaps up like a salmon and bullets a commanding header towards the bottom corner, but the Atletico stopper SOMEHOW gets down to make the stop despite his position basically behind the line! Amazing!
9′ A frenetic opening to the match at the Vicente Calderon as both sides look to gain an early advantage. Atletico have probably had the better of the play so far but Madrid have deployed Ronaldo and Bale up top to cause plenty of problems on the counter should they be awarded the space.
7′ Gabi is awarded too much room inside the centre circle which allows him to pick out a glorious diagonal pass in behind the Madrid defence for the onrushing Torres, who takes an assured touch into space before looking to get the shot away. Some excellent defending from Varane ushers the ball back to Navas to clear, though.
5′ Some electric passing in the final third from Real Madrid as Kovacic and Modric exchange a couple of lovely, speedy balls. A cross is eventually sweeped to the back post by the former with Bale the target, but Juanfran defends superbly and heads behind as Atletico concede their first corner-kick of the evening.
3′ We are only three minutes in but already a few hard tackles have been exchanged. Ronaldo was typically the target for the first and the second was committed by Bale who just leaves a little something on Juanfran near the touchline. Free-kick to Atletico in a really useful position on the right channel.
1′ The Madrid Derby is under way at the Vicente Calderon for the very last time!