Gabi

Somehow, no player was sent off in a fiery derby between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, ending in a 2-2 draw at the Vicente Calderon, with the home side probably looking better for most of the very aggressive and tense 90 minutes.

Carlos Delgado had to face the usual antics in big matches between Spanish clubs: Diving, provocation almost assault, this time coming from Atletico Madrid assistant German Burgos, so big he had to be held back by the entire Atletico bench after Delgado booked Diego Costa for diving in the second half.

Real Madrid had a bad match, but got the result they wanted, which will keep them on top of the La Liga no matter the result in the Barcelona match later on. They scored first with Karim Benzema continuing his scary firing pace, but that was about it from the league leaders until the very final minutes of the match, when Atletico Madrid got tired, Diego Simeone waited too long with his substitution and conceded a late goal after a foolish mistake by Mario Suarez.

Atletico began pressing the entire pitch, with some excellent work from Suarez, Gabi and Arda Turan in the midfield, while the Real Madrid full backs, Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa, had a very difficult time handling Atletico’s attacks from the wings. Atletico also deserved a penalty kick early on after a foul by Sergio Ramos on Diego Costa, probably the only big mistake made by the referee in the match.

Despite the mistake, Atletico dominance paid off. First with the goal by Koke, something Diego Lopez might have stopped on a better day, and then just before half time with a stunning shot by Gabi from about 30 meters, possibly catching a slight deflection on Ronaldo’s head, before giving Atletico the deserved 2-1 lead.

A huge mistake by Mario Suarez led to Cristiano Ronaldo equalizing in the 82nd minute after an awful performance from the Portuguese star, busy complaining and hitting the wall off free kicks more than he was doing positive things for his team.

Anothr mistake by Dani Caravajal and Diego Lopez almost led to an Atletico winner a minute later, but the final minutes didn’t create any chances on both sides, as the two rivals parted with a draw that Real Madrid were happier with.

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