Real Madrid handed Atlético Madrid their first La Liga loss at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium this season in a 3-1 victory that helped Los Blancos to leapfrog their city rivals.
Opening the account in quite spectacular fashion, Casemiro got onto the end of a Sergio Ramos header with a scintillating scissor-kick that seemed to take forever to fall.
Just under 10 minutes later and things were level thanks to Antione Griezmann’s composed effort in a 1v1 against Thibaut Courtois.
Terrorising the Atlético defence on the left was Vinícius Júnior who fell for a hotly contested penalty that was eventually given and slotted away by his captain Ramos.
Finally, a largely quiet Luka Modrić picked up the ball in the central space and played a perfectly weighted pass for substitute Gareth Bale to pick it up with one touch and slot it away with another.
It was a close end-to-end game that was a case study in the use of VAR, with two predominant incidents involving Álvaro Morata.
This is why VAR is great. Without it, Griezmann’s goal would have been disallowed, we’d have been stuck with a wrong decision and an insufferable post-match debate. With VAR, we check the decision, get it right, game moves on.
— Andy West (@andywest01) February 9, 2019
Jan Oblak – 5.5 – Didn’t have much to do, but when he did, the ball managed to make its way beyond his usually impregnable hands.
Lucas Hernández – 6.3 – Fared slightly better, albeit with less to deal with than Arias on the opposite flank. Similarly, Madrid’s Vázquez had enough to make his day nothing to write home about.
Diego Godín – 6 – Showed his experience in the first half without contributing much. For Bale’s goal, he had a tricky decision to make and chose to close down Modrić rather than cutting the passing line or putting pressure on the free Bale.
José Giménez – 5.7 – Shakey in the first-half and similarly struggled in the second, seemingly unable to keep up with the organisation typical of Diego Simeone’s defensive line.
Santiago Arias – 6 – Whilst never being poor, Arias struggled against the pace of Vinícius Júnior whose footwork was often enough to find space in behind him.
Thomas Lemar – 6.2 – Solid enough but failed to make any real impact before being substituted on the 57th minute.
Saúl Ñíguez – 6.8 – Functioned both offensively and defensively with three dribble, three tackles and a shot. An important figure in the transitions between his side’s defensive and attacking phases.
Thomas Partey – 6.4 – Made his presence felt in the middle of the field, perhaps a little too much. Doubling up on a yellow card he walked with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Ángel Correa – 7- Superbly used his strength to open up play and assist Atlético’s first goal.
Antoine Griezmann – 7.2 – Levelling the score, Griezmann bared his teeth as a classic central forward, picking up the ball in a 1v1 with Courtois and slotting it into the big target.
Álvaro Morata – 6.6 – Struggling to find form, Morata came close with a stunning offside goal but otherwise struggled to make much of an impact against his former side beside a late spell where he began to look threatening.
Vitolo (for Thomas Lemar 59′) – 6.5 – Offered slightly more than Lemar and made a case for starting in that role.
Rodri (for Ángel Correa 64′) – 6.5 – Seemed to contribute to his side’s late attacking threat and like Vitolo, added a bit of verve to Atlético’s attacks.
Nikola Kalinić (for Álvaro Morata 71′) – 6.5 – Morata had started to make his threat known and was swapped for the Croatian international who seemed to slot in perfectly in the attack.
2 – Atletico de Madrid have conceded two goals in the first half of a game at Wanda Metropolitano for the first time in all competicions. Short-circuit. pic.twitter.com/ypYKzCJMP4
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) February 9, 2019
Thibaut Courtois – 6 – His hands were rarely called upon and was overall solid enough although there could be some question marks over his dealing with Griezmann’s goal.
Sergio Reguilón – 6.5 – Managed to hold fast when his opponents found form at the end, particularly in dealing with Morata’s wide presence.
Sergio Ramos – 7.3 – Slotted home the penalty giving Madrid the lead at 2-1, as well as setting up the first. Solid as usual, however, a slightly soft pass contributed to Griezmann’s goal. Despite this, Ramos once again exemplified the role of a modern captain.
Sergio Ramos has now scored 11 goals across all competitions this season, the most he’s ever managed in a single campaign.
No Ronaldo, no problem. 😉 pic.twitter.com/DzAP6rTOl9
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 9, 2019
Raphaël Varane – 6.5 – Partnered well with Ramos, helping his side build from the back as well as dealing with aerial threats.
Daniel Carvajal – 7 – A driving force in Madrid’s patient movements from deep, Carvajal was able to link up with Modric and the pair gave Santiago Solari’s men stability during their opponents attacking waves.
Toni Kroos – 6 – Although his corner found the head of Ramos for the opening goal, he was largely kept at bay and lacked the presence that he would be expected to bring.
Casemiro – 7.1 – Opening his side’s account with an overhead kick that smartly dealt with an awkward ball, he was the fulcrum of a Real Madrid side that are on a good run of form.
Luka Modrić – 6.2 – Never seemed to be able to get into the thick of the action but picked up the ball in the centre to find an onside Bale to put the nail in the coffin for his opponents.
Vinícius Júnior – 7 – Done well to find space on the left wing and almost doubled Madrid’s lead with a perfectly placed outside foot pass to a waiting Vázquez. Causing Godín and co. all sorts of trouble, his threat was permanent and menacing, his potential being realised game-on-game. Won the penalty with a powerful dart towards the box.
Karim Benzema – 6.5 – Benzema is often capable of contributing without contributing much, particularly his physicality and experience offer overlooked benefits. Mostly out of the game today, he still managed to make Oblak’s life difficult with a supporting run for Bale to nail the third.
Lucas Vázquez – 6.8 – Offering balance to the pace on the left wing with plenty of his own. A nippy thorn in the side for the Atlético defence, he always looked likely to be involved in a goal.
Gareth Bale (for Vinícius Júnior 57′) – 7 – Showed his experience in the Real Madrid way of doing things by finding the net within 20 minutes of his entry onto the field with a two-touch killer strike from out wide.
Dani Ceballos (for Toni Kroos 84′) – 6 – Had very little time to make any impact but continued where Kroos had left off.
Mariano Díaz (for Karim Benzema 88′) – 6 – A time-wasting substitution. Likewise, served its purpose.
Gareth Bale has now scored 100 goals across all competitions for Real Madrid.
A century brought up in the Madrid derby. 💯 pic.twitter.com/dXQXPtnzU5
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 9, 2019