Sports Desk, Dec 12 (efe-epa).- Real Madrid throughly outplayed cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid in Saturday’s capital derby to narrow the gap with the LaLiga-leading Colchoneros to 3 points.
The Blancos displayed the same form that served them so well at midweek in the Champions League against an Atleti side bearing little resemblance to the squad who were unbeaten in their last 26 LaLiga games.
Atletico are likely to regret blowing a golden opportunity to put themselves 9 points clear of the reigning champions in a season that has seen Barcelona struggle to find their footing in domestic play.
Real Madrid opened the scoring in the 15th minute on a goal by Casemiro, who out-leapt the defenders to get his head to a perfectly placed corner from Toni Kroos.
Sergio Ramos sent a free kick skipping over the cross-bar early in the second half, minutes before Atleti’s Thomas Lemar inexplicably missed on one of his team’s better chances of the night.
The contest was effectively decided in the 63rd minute, when a shot from Real Madrid’s Dani Carvajal ricocheted from the post to Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak’s back and from there into the net to leave the visitors trailing 2-0.
Diego Simeone’s men are now winless in their last nine LaLiga contests against the Blancos. While Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane can breathe a little easier as speculation about his future dies down, at least for the moment.
Atletico remain in first place on 26 points, 1 more than Real Sociedad and 2 better than Real Madrid, though the Colchoneros have a game in hand.
In Saturday’s other action, Sevilla eked out a 1-0 away triumph over Getafe to move up to fifth on 19 points.
The visitors had 75 percent possession, but couldn’t manage a single shot on target and Sevilla won thanks to an own goal in the 81st minute by Getafe defender Xabier Etxeita.
After over-achieving in 2019-2020, Getafe continue their downward slide and are now 15th.
A club already in the drop zone, Huesca, moved to within 2 points of safety Saturday by beating 14th-place Alaves 1-0 on a goal in the 66th minute by Javier Ontiveros, who dedicated the feat to his grandmother, hospitalized for Covid-19.
It was Huesca’s first win of the 2020-2021 campaign.
Valencia needed a goal in the 83rd minute to salvage a 2-2 draw with Athletic Club.
Carlos Soler converted a penalty in the 26th minute to stake the hosts to a lead. Asier Villalibre equalized for Athletic 10 minutes into the second half and Raul Garcia scored from the spot in the 79th minute to put the visitors ahead.
Manu Vallejo exploited a mistake by Athletic keeper Unai Simon to bring Valencia level in the 83rd.
Both with 14 points, Valencia and Athletic Club sit 10th and 11th in the table, respectively. EFE apa/dr