MADRID (AP) – Atlético de Madrid conceded Real Madrid late to draw 1-1 on Sunday and leave the league leaders at greater risk of being caught up in their quest for the Spanish title.
Karim Benzema, back in the Madrid squad after a loss due to injury, scored in the 87th minute after Luis Suárez’s early goal for Atlético at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
Atlético were in control for most of the game and wasted several opportunities to increase their advantage, paying the price in the end and wasting their opportunity to increase their advantage at the top of the league.
The draw kept Diego Simeone’s team five points ahead of Madrid and just three points ahead of second place Barcelona, which beat Osasuna 2-0 on Saturday. Atlético has a game in hand both against Madrid and Barcelona.
Atlético are trying to win their first league title since 2014. Since then, either Barcelona or Madrid have won the title every season.
Atlético have not beaten Madrid in 10 consecutive league games, since 2016, with five losses and five draws. They lost 2-0 in Madrid in the teams’ previous meeting last year.
Madrid, coming off a disappointing home draw against Real Sociedad, had beaten Atlético three in a row in all competitions.
The match was played without fans but there was a large concentration of Atlético fans outside the stadium before and during the match. Inside the enclosure their chants and goal celebration were heard after Suárez’s goal.
They were loudly heard near the end of the match when Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak made two superb saves from close range on back-to-back attempts by Benzema. Oblak also stopped the forward’s free kick attempt moments later.
However, he was unable to stop Benzema in the final minutes as the forward found the net near the penalty spot after a pass from Casemiro in one of the few errors by the Atlético defense throughout the match.
Atlético started the game pressing forward and opened the scoring in a breakaway in the 15th minute. Suárez found the far corner with the outside of his right foot as he faced Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois inside the area after a pass from Marcos Llorente.
Suárez, Atlético’s top scorer with 17 goals, had not found the net in five games in all competitions. The 34-year-old Uruguayan forward who arrived from Barcelona this season moved within two goals of Messi, the league’s leading scorer this season.
Madrid tried to gain control in the second half but it was Atlético who continued to threaten in the counterattacks, wasting several good scoring chances.
Madrid were left without injured captain Sergio Ramos, while Atlético had the return of defender Kieran Trippier after completing a 10-game suspension for break the betting rules.
Atlético came from two consecutive setbacks in the League at home: they lost 2-0 to Levante and drew 2-2 with Celta Vigo.
Madrid, meanwhile, had won four straight away games in all competitions, including 1-0 against Atalanta in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16. Atlético lost 1-0 to Chelsea in their first leg in the European competition.
Atlético had not scored in the last three league derbies against Madrid, since Antoine Griezmann’s goal in early 2019. They have never gone four games without a goal against their rival.
Madrid have never lost in four visits to Atlético’s Metropolitan Stadium in the League. It is the only league team that is undefeated.
The draw prevented Simeone from breaking Luis Aragonés’ club record of 308 victories as a coach.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.