Atletico Madrid ended Real Madrid’s perfect start to the 2023/24 season with an impressive 3-1 win at the Estadio Civitas Metropolitano.
Goals from Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata earned all three points for Atleti, and saw their rivals Real Madrid drop down to third place in the La Liga table – behind Barcelona and surprise package Girona.
How the game unfolded
Roared on by a raucous Estadio Civitas Metropolitano crowd, Atletico Madrid took the lead inside three minutes thanks to the in-form Alvaro Morata.
The ex-Real Madrid man stole in behind David Alaba inside the box to latch onto a fantastic cross from full-back Samuel Lino to head home his four La Liga goal of the season so far.
Atleti continued to dominated thereafter, shockingly bagging a second goal in the 17th minute. Once again the goal came from the left hand side, this time with Saul Niguez dinking the ball into the club’s superstar Antoine Griezmann who was able to readjust to brilliantly head the ball into the bottom right corner of the net.
It was so nearly 3-0 on the half hour mark when a Atleti exploited the space out wide – created by Carlo Ancelotti employing an incredible narrow formation on Sunday evening – to carve open the Madrid defence and force Kepa into smart save at his near post to keep out a low Saul effort.
Despite the game being largely dominated by the home side, Real Madrid found a way to half the deficit in the 35th minute. The goal would come courtesy of a moment of magic from Toni Kroos who, after controlling the ball just outside the box, drifted past Llorente and cannoned the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.
Madrid thought they had completed their comeback before half-time when Jude Bellinham looped a dangerous ball into the penalty area and into the path of David Alaba. The Austrian hit the crossbar with his sliding effort, before the ball deflected into the path of Eduardo Camavinga who tapped home. The goal was quickly ruled out, however, thanks to Antonio Rudiger impeding an Atleti defender from an offside position in the build-up.
Within 40 seconds of the restart at the start of the second half, Morata made it 3-1 to Atletico Madrid. The home side, yep you guessed it, exploited Madrid’s tepid right flank in order to create the goal, with Saul finding space out wide then crossing to Morata who made no mistake with his headed effort.
The third goal forced Ancelotti into a raft of changes. Three substitutes were brought on in the 56th minute and one of which, Aurelien Tchouameni, came close to making it 2-1 after the hour mark. The France midfielder saw a venomous long-range effort fly just wide of the foot of Jan Oblak’s post.
In the final 30 minutes, Diego Simeone’s team, as they usually are able to, thoroughly shut up shop and didn’t allow Real Madrid to create anything of note.
GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga – 5/10 – Didn’t get near any of the Atleti goals.
RB: Lucas Vazquez – 2/10 – Ran ragged by Atletico Madrid, who scored all three goals from his defensive flank.
CB: Antonio Rudiger – 4/10 – Simply did not play well and looked completely out of sink with Alaba.
CB: David Alaba – 3/10 – All over the place. Caught under ball for both Morata’s goals.
LB: Fran Garcia – 4/10 – Hung out to dry by his manager’s tactics on Sunday evening.
CM: Federico Valverde – 4/10 – Didn’t fill in defensive gaps out wide nearly enough and it cost Madrid.
CM: Toni Kroos – 7/10 – Scored a fantastic long-range goal in the first half.
CM: Eduardo Camavinga – 4/10 – A clumsy outing from the young France international.
AM: Jude Bellingham – 5/10 – Played essentially as a lone striker in the first half and it didn’t work. Int he second half he didn’t see enough of the ball.
AM: Luka Modric – 4/10 – Subbed at half-time after a difficult first 45, largely because of Ancelotti’s extremely rogue tactical set-up above anything else.
ST: Rodryo Goes – 4/10 – Not at the races on Sunday evening.
SUB: Joselu (45′ for Modric) – 5/10 – He didn’t make an impact.
SUB: Nacho Fernandez (56′ for Vazquez) – 5/10.
SUB: Aurelien Tchouameni (56′ for Camavinga) – 5/10.
SUB: Ferland Mendy (56′ for Garcia) – 5/10.
SUB: Brahim Diaz (70′ for Kroos) – 5/10.
Manager – Carlo Ancelotti – 2/10 – The legendary Italian manager’s decision to play five narrow midfielders ultimately cost his team the Madrid derby. Simeone’s side were able to exploit the space left out wide with ease.