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Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Four standout performers

Monday 9th April 2018

Unhappily, the Castillian rivals were forced to share the spoils in the latest Madrid Derby at the Santiago Bernabeu. Atletico remain 11 points off the top spot, Real four points further back, with seven games remaining. After this game, one thing is clear. Barcelona will win La Liga and both capital clubs must chase their glory on the European front.

Although each had to pick a ball from his net, the two keepers were the stars in this episode. Chances came left and right but the Costa Rican and Slovenian remained defiant. The refereeing, as usual, was poor and non-sensical. God bless all Spanish and English referees. 

Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock but Griezmann immediately pegged back the Portuguese. After the equaliser, Simeone backed up the bus to pick up Diego Costa and drop off Gabi in the centre of the park to ensure the point. 

Here are four players who were influential throughout the game.

Cristiano Ronaldo

I told you he was going to be the talking point. Ronaldo continues to deliver in big games. His calm and composure in the final third for the 64 minutes Zinedine Zidane kept him on the pitch were crucial for the Merengues. The king of Madrid derbies. The Portuguese talisman scored his 22nd goal of this fixture, most by anyone from either camp. 

As has become the norm, he wasn't involved in the build-up play but had three shots on target during the game. He was brought off with an eye for the Champions League quarter-final match versus the Old Lady on Wednesday. 

Gareth Bale

The Welshman is finally finding his feet this season at the Santiago Bernabeu. Bale assisted the goal for Ronaldo and made a huge impact in the ninety minutes he played. It was a big game for him, considering his dip in the form in a past couple of years and the fact that he was dropped in the first leg against Juventus in the Champions League quarterfinals. Zidane showed faith and the 28-year-delivered. He dropped deep to exploit the space in front of Atleti's classic defensive line. He completed four successful take-ons and won four aerial duels. It's a foregone conclusion he won't start in the second leg but a renaissance is awaiting Mr Bale.

Antoine Greizmann

Girezmann scored the equalizer for Los Colchoneros. It was the only shot he had on target but timed it well, just minutes after Ronaldo had put Los Blancos in front. Also heavily involved in Atletico's build-up play, the French international has now scored his third consecutive goal at the Bernabeu. His partnership with Diego Costa is reviving the Rojiblancos verve. The pair are a constant threat, winning tackles in the final third, and launching attacks on their own. Both have an impeccable defensive work-rate.  

Jan Oblak 

Oblak spoiled Real Madrid's fun, didn't he? The Slovakian international made seven saves against the home side. He was wonderful in denying some excellent chances. The man was just phenomenal between the sticks. Oblak surely is among the top three goalkeepers in the game. 

Harsh Vardhan

A pilot in the making residing in India, Harsh is also an ardent follower of European football and his heart resides in Manchester, particularly the blues. He has deep passion for writing, with special admiration for combined-elevens, while also contributing to the sports column of a local daily.

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