Karim Benzema secured the 1-0 victory for Real Madrid in the derby of Madrid against Atletico on Saturday. The victory increased Real’s chance for the Spanish Championship title.
Manager Zinedine Zidane had started the game with a narrow line up with 5 midfielders. But, after failing to break into Atletico’s defense, he brought in Lucas Vasques and Vinicius Junior in the places of Toni Kroos and Isco, at the beginning of the second half.
The Brazilian youngster helped the team improve and they started finding spaces in the midfield. It was him who started the play to the first and only goal of the match. At the 56th minute, the number 25 released the ball to Ferland Mendy, who needed just a touch to find his compatriot Benzema inside the box. The French striker got ahead of Felipe and sidefooted the ball past goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
The 1-0 victory over Atletico, who rarely threatened Madrid’s defense, was the Merengues’ first win over their local rivals at home in the Spanish League since 2012. It also helped them continue with the 3 points difference against Barcelona, for the top of the table. Real Madrid continues in the first position, with 49 points.
Apart from the defeat, the Colchoneros have another reason to be sad. Alvaro Morata left the game injured and now there are seven players in the list of absences and another problem for coach Diego Simeone. With the loss, Atletico dropped to 6th place, with 36 points, which is just one less than Valencia, the 5th.
For matchday 23, Real Madrid will travel to face Osasuna on Sunday. Before that, on Thursday, they will play the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey against Real Sociedad. Atletico Madrid, who are already out of the cup, will play on Saturday, welcoming Granada and trying to finish this terrible moment they are passing through.