Madrid, May 8 (EFE).- Atletico Madrid’s Yannick Carrasco was in the right place at the right time to score the lone goal in the La Liga derby in the Spanish capital against Real Madrid on Sunday at Wanda Metropolitano stadium before a crowd of 63,874.
It was Atletico’s first win over its crosstown rival at the modern stadium and pushed the squad a bit farther along the road to Champions League play.
With three weeks to go in the season, No. 4 Atletico is six points ahead of fifth-place Real Betis, putting the former in good shape to get into Champions League action, and that is something of a consolation to Diego Simeone’s men, who had several chances to do more damage to Real Madrid in the derby but ended up blocked within their own area and spent the second half hanging on and hoping their rival didn’t manage to stage some kind of comeback, and with netminder Jan Oblak doing great work to fend off any challenges.
Carlo Ancelotti decided to give a number of his front-line players a much needed rest on Sunday, with the title already clinched, and Atletico took advantage of the situation to thrash the top La Liga team, although they could have scored more goals with a little bit of luck and perhaps a little more oomph.
Last Wednesday, Real Madrid had mounted a fabulous Champions League semifinal comeback victory against Manchester City, but this time Karim Benzema, Thibaut Courtois and Vinicius Junior were all out of the starting lineup.
Overall, the loss was relatively meaningless for Real Madrid and Ancelotti was right to keep his best players on the bench to avoid the possibility of injury, but Simeone’s squad really needed the three points in their battle to secure a Champion’s League berth.
Carrasco scored the single tally of the evening in the 39th minute on a penalty kick after Matheus Cunha was fouled by Real Madrid’s Nacho.
Although the hosts had several chances during the second half to secure additional tallies, Andriy Lunin, who was in the Real Madrid net substituting for Courtois, made some brilliant saves and Carrasco fired one off the post in the 75th minute even though he only had the goaltender to outfox.
Atletico de Madrid: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Savic, Gimenez, Reinildo (Felipe, m. 72); Kondogbia, Koke; Correa (Griezmann, m. 46), Llorente, Carrasco (Lodi, m. 92+); Cunha (De Paul, m. 89).
Real Madrid: Lunin; Lucas Vazquez, Militao (Mendy, m. 67), Vallejo, Nacho; Kroos (Modric, m. 67), Casemiro (Vinicius, m. 60), Camavinga; Asensio, Jovic (Valverde, m. 60), Rodrigo.