Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann were the familiar protagonists as Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid played out a 1-1 draw in LaLiga.
Antoine Griezmann netted for a third consecutive away Derbi in LaLiga as Atletico Madrid stretched their unbeaten top-flight run at the Santiago Bernabeu to five matches with a 1-1 draw against Real Madrid.
The result in the capital edged Barcelona even closer to the title, with Ernesto Valverde’s men 11 points clear of Atleti at the summit with seven games remaining.
Madrid remain four points further back in third, unable to close the gap on their neighbours despite Cristiano Ronaldo volleying in his 22nd goal in the fixture in the 53rd minute.
Diego Simeone’s side had attacked fleetingly up until that point but Griezmann, equalising as he did in the corresponding fixture last season, ensured Madrid’s lead only lasted four minutes.
Atleti were then on the charge and Koke should have put them ahead before the withdrawals of Ronaldo and Diego Costa for either side saw the offensive threat subside – much to the delight of those watching on in Catalonia.
3 – Antoine Griezmann is the first Atletico player to score in three consecutive La Liga away games against Real Madrid in the 21st century (three goals). Dance. pic.twitter.com/Y755G1jICd
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 8, 2018
Jan Oblak saved from Ronaldo when Gareth Bale flicked on Toni Kroos’ ninth-minute corner as Atletico struggled uncharacteristically with their rivals’ set-piece variety.
Juanfran was fortunate to see a challenge go unpunished when Kroos darted into the box on the end of a short corner and frustration seemingly lingered for the Germany midfielder as he was booked for a crude hack at Griezmann on halfway.
Oblak remained the busier of the two goalkeepers – tipping over a rising Ronaldo drive from 25 yards before getting down to thwart Raphael Varane following another set-piece lapse – but Keylor Navas saved excellently at his near post in the 29th minute, Koke having teed up Costa for a punt at giving Atleti the lead against the run of play.
Marcelo came closer to the opener four minutes from half-time, dancing inside Vitolo to thud a 20-yard strike against the crossbar.
The opening goal arrived after nine uneventful second-half minutes from a familiar source.
Bale had operated on the margins of the contest up until that point but the Wales winger stormed down the left flank and Ronaldo pulled into space behind Lucas Hernandez, drilling a volley into the turf and beyond Oblak.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 8, 2018
Atletico’s response was stunning and, after Navas pawed a speculative Saul Niguez shot to safety, they ensured Madrid’s lead was short-lived.
Thomas Partey played in Griezmann, who cleverly slid possession to Vitolo and was on hand to steer the loose ball into a vacant goal after Navas saved at the former Sevilla winger’s feet.
The Costa Rica keeper showed sharp reactions when he pushed away a rasping Koke shot, with the home defence in front of him tottering.
It made the timing of Zinedine Zidane’s seemingly pre-planned decision to send on Karim Benzema in place of Ronaldo a curious one.
Griezmann released Saul to curl beyond the far post in the 70th minute but the Spain midfielder might have crossed to the well-placed Costa, who was substituted in favour of defensive midfielder Gabi soon afterwards.
Simeone’s what-we-have-we-hold move almost backfired when Bale skewed wide, while Sergio Ramos made his regular pitch to be Madrid’s last-ditch hero – forcing Oblak to push a wonderful free-kick behind in stoppage time and powering over from the resulting corner.