It doesn’t always happen, but almost. This wins the one who wants to win the most. And that was Atlético, who with the Champions League and the future in the air put the best and they were. Ancelotti pulled those from the back room, and between those who are very far from the main ones, who understand that the League is past and that Madrid only seem to stimulate him and the Fourth Millennium matches, the champion delivered the derby and ended up making the neighbor a corridor . This time the faith was from Wanda and there was no surprise. Nobody expected that Madrid would walk on water again.
It will be difficult to see a derby dressed in such an extravagant way again. The teams arrived at the Wanda in EMT buses, a municipal ruse to bring the stars down to earth and, incidentally, boast of public transport. Ancelotti came out with three and a half starters (Rodrygo and Asensio have been that all year) and Simeone kept Griezmann and Luis Suárez on the bench. The whites are tired heroes, the rojiblancos fallen angels. Before the warm-up Mariano was injured and Jovic had to play, two substitutes to the cube lacking sports history and plenty of medical history. And Atlético denied a corridor that no one from Madrid asked for. Everything was as funny as the match, shaved by the title already conquered by Ancelotti’s men and by two cup and cigar hangovers. Literal.
The beginning of the duel portrayed the situation well. Atleti pulled out the fang, put pressure on Kroos, who lived through better times, opened the gas in the second plays and was about to take Madrid ahead, still uploaded to that mystery ship that took him to the Champions League final. Simeone’s team did everything in that reaction outing: a high shot from Kondogbia, another cross from Correa that grazed the post, a tremendous kick from Savic to Nacho, a prank from carrasco poorly finished… The Belgian is a priceless player, like almost all great dribblers. What they invent is not on any blackboard. Even the ball, from which he runs away so many times, belonged to Atlético, under the authority of Kondogbia, who has ended up becoming the team’s most solvent midfielder.
Madrid attended that as a listener, and it is that on the field there were plenty of players lacking rebellion: Kroos, Asensio, Jovic, even Rodrygo, who is better off arriving with the party started. God didn’t tell him this time that it was going to be his day. In the white team there seemed to be no other plan than to wait huddled up for Atlético to get over their fever or run out of fuel.
If the question was to know how Lunin would withstand a siege, the play was perfect, although the B side of this determined and ambitious Atlético is the shot. So the final push came from the VAR in a penalty that Soto Grado did not see at first. After the set was under the microscope, Martínez Munuera noticed a stomp by Vallejo on Cunha in the middle of the greyhound race and Carrasco converted the penalty into a goal. An award that Atlético deserved and a punishment that Madrid had sought.
Of course, even in this bath and massage session, the champion has his danger. Very close to the break Kroos launched a shoe that was close to the post and Jovic found himself in a one-on-one against Oblak in which he lacked finesse to overcome him. Not much, but Atlético at the back was also impeccable. Reinildo is a find (he left injured) and Savic, a leader who sometimes went too far (he finished the match by a miracle).
As is customary at Atlético, leave these things half done, Simeone put in Griezmann, a preventive change to avoid an announced relapse. And it is that the team lost meters and impetus in the pressure at the beginning of the second half. Jovic almost made him pay after Asensio’s best start. Atlético’s central defenders covered that hole, but the game was already threatening with a swerve.
a thrilling ending
This is how the shooting started: two occasions by Casemiro, a high shot by Griezmann, another clearer and more unsuccessful by Carrasco, a miraculous save by Lunin shot at point-blank range by Cunha. All in two minutes. One of those crazy games that Atlético likes so little, even the ones that go well, like this one.
Slowly, Ancelotti was bringing in his personal guard: first Vinicius and Valverde, then Mendy and Modric. There was already half of Madrid there and a radically different party. Valverde arrived with a cannon under his arm. He put in three tremendous shots. Two were taken out by the Oblak who has been absent so many times this year. He was also one step away from Griezmann’s goal, Atlético’s best in the second half. He missed two occasions by less than an inch. Cunha attempted a goal from midfield. Carrasco crashed a ball into the post. The derby had turned out great and only the laments of Atlético could be heard, determined to keep Madrid alive. Bad business for a team that plays dead like no one else. It did not happen this time, despite the final approach and the opportunities of Asensio and Nacho, because Ancelotti’s group is also selective with its resurrections. In the end, the only corridor that opened was the one from Atleti to the Champions League and the message remained that the derby is for those who work for it.
Griezmann (45′, Belt), Vinicius Junior (60′, Jovic), Federico Valverde (60′, Casemiro), modric (67′, Kroos), Ferland Mendy (67′, Eder Militao), Philip Monteiro (72′, Reinildo Mandava), Paul’s (88′, Matheus Cunha), Renan Augustus (93′, Carrasco)
Referee: Cesar Soto Grado
VAR Referee: Juan Martinez Munuera
Jović (19′, Yellow) Lucas Vazquez (27′, Yellow) Mark Llorente (36′, Yellow) Jesus Vallejo (37′, Yellow) savic (62′, Yellow) Nacho (70′, Yellow