Reuters, Madrid, February 25 Real Madrid’s chances of winning La Liga were dashed on Saturday as 10-man Atletico Madrid held the reigning champions to a 1-1 draw at their Santiago Bernabeu home. With 52 points, Real is seven points behind league-leading Barcelona, who will play lowly Almeria on Sunday and may increase their advantage to 10 points with a victory. With 42 points, Atletico is in fourth place.
“Winning the league is, in my opinion, a really tough job. It was challenging before today’s game, and it’s much worse now, according to Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, who spoke to DAZN.
More than physical strength, we missed a little mental freshness today. We allowed them to score and found it difficult to adjust our position, particularly when they were down to 10 men.
While the effort level was not too high, we effectively managed the first half. Finally, we did not make advantage of the extra man we had.
Real Madrid controlled play but was unable to convert their dominance into scoring chances as the game got off to a lethargic start on a chilly day in the Spanish capital.
Diego Simeone, who has managed Atletico Madrid for 612 games overall, was forced to make an early substitute after left fullback Reinildo Mandava was taken to the hospital on a stretcher with a left knee injury. Simeone had previously tied Luis Aragones for the record.
Simeone predicted the Mozambique defender would miss the remainder of the season, but the club subsequently revealed in a statement that the defender had ruptured a ligament.
Ineffective up front, Karim Benzema, Vinicius Jr., and Marco Asensio were unable to break the score as Atletico Madrid maintained their five-man defense, with substitute Jose Maria Gimenez coming in as the third center-back.
Even after replacement, Real still struggled to generate opportunities. Angel Correa was shown a straight red card in the 64th minute for elbowing defender Antonio Ruediger in the chest.
Gimenez’s header from an Antoine Griezmann free kick in the 78th minute gave Atletico the advantage in the end.
Griezmann scored for Atletico Madrid in a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in April 2018.
Seven minutes after the goal, 18-year-old attacker Alvaro Rodrguez of Real Madrid tied the score with a deft header through traffic off of a Luka Modric corner.
Thibaut Courtois, the Real goalkeeper, told DAZN that salvaging a point was preferable to defeat but that it was not the outcome required to continue the championship race. It’s a consequence that leaves us feeling unsatisfied.