La Liga: Antoine Griezmann scores late as Atletico draws 1-1 at Real Madrid
Antoine Griezmann’s late goal gave Atletico Madrid a 1-1 draw, tightening the title race in the Spanish League.football Updated: Apr 09, 2017 01:26 IST
Antoine Griezmann’s late goal gave Atletico Madrid a 1-1 draw at Real Madrid on Saturday, tightening the title race in the Spanish league.
Griezmann used his left foot to drive home a perfectly placed throughball by substitute Angel Correa to equalize at the Santiago Bernabeu in the 85th minute.
Pepe put Real ahead in the 52nd, when he shook off his marker and headed Toni Kroos’ free kick just inside the far upright.
But Real failed to press for another goal and Griezmann capitalized on its complacency.
The stalemate in the Spanish capital derby left leader Real three points ahead of Barcelona, which visited Malaga later Saturday. Real also has a game in hand.
Atletico, which added the draw to wins at Real in the last three league campaigns, stayed in third place, 10 points behind Real.
Real was on the brink of taking a major step toward its first league title in five years.
That was until Correa, who had gone on in the 61st for Saul Niguez, saw the sliver of space between Nacho Fernando and Dani Carvajal. Niguez slid the ball forward between the pair of Real defenders, and Griezmann did the rest, slotting his shot past Keylor Navas for his third goal against Real in Atletico’s red-and-white.
“We know we are a strong team, with a great mentality. It was tough, but we got the draw thanks to a great pass by Angelito,” Griezmann said after dedicating his 23rd goal in all competitions this season to his daughter who turned one on Saturday.
Atletico lost its last two games against its crosstown rival, a 3-0 league defeat at home in November and a loss in a penalty shootout in the Champions League final last season.
It can turn with confidence still high back to the Champions League, where it hosts Leicester on Tuesday in the quarterfinals.
Real travel to Bayern Munich for its European quarterfinal on Wednesday.
It was a vintage performance by Diego Simeone’s Atletico. His team bent but never broke under the steady pressure by the star-studded Real.
Besides Griezmann and Correa’s moment of inspiration, Atletico’s solid performance was based on the superb saves of Jan Oblak.
The Slovenian goalkeeper turned back two clear chances by Karim Benzema, and another two by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.
And when Ronaldo finally beat him in the first half, defender Stefan Savic hustled back to clear his goal-bound strike with his head.
Zinedine Zidane’s team can barely be blamed for letting up near the end, given that Atletico had only mustered shots by Griezmann and Fernando Torres that Navas had dealt with.
That was when Correa connected with his forward to flip the match on its head and cast doubt on Real’s march toward the trophy.
“We played a great game against a great rival, but we dropped our guard for one moment,” Madrid midfielder Casemiro said.
First Published: Apr 09, 2017 01:15 IST