Atletico Madrid proved they will be a real threat in the La Liga title race by claiming a brilliant 1-0 win over Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Diego Simeone’s side came into the match protecting a perfect record and recorded their seventh La Liga win out of seven matches thanks to Diego Costa’s early goal.
Real started the match with Gareth Bale on the bench. He came on at half time but could not spark a revival.
The home side contributed to their own downfall as Angel Di Maria was robbed of the ball in his own half by Koke who slipped in Costa. The striker had plenty left to do, but kept his composure to slot the ball home.
Diego Costa with his 8th goal of the Liga season. Keeping up with Messi at this stage and putting Atleti ahead. 0-1— Kay Murray (@KayLMurray) September 28, 2013
Atletico had further chances in the first half. Tiago powered a header wide after being left unmarked eight yards out, while Diego Lopez did well to deny Atletico with a double save.
Real’s best moment of the opening half was a header from Karim Benzema that bounced awkwardly in front of Thibaut Courtois who pushed the ball away.
Real substituted Bale at the interval in a bid to change the tide, but Atletico continued to look dangerous.
Costa had a massive chance around the hour mark to double Atletico’s lead when he went clear of the defense, but his touch let him down and he could only shoot straight at Lopez.
Real improved following the introduction of 20-year-old Alvaro Morata and he carved out a couple of chances, but was denied by Courtois as Atletico held on for an impressive win.
Cristiano Ronaldo: D
This was one of the Portuguese superstar’s poorer nights. Nothing seemed to work as he was frustrated by the relentless pressure of Atletico. He fired a shot high and wide in the first half, which summed up his frustration. Ronaldo had a chance to atone with a free kick but he again sent the ball high and wide.
Gareth Bale: C
The Welshman started the evening on the bench, but played the entire second half as a substitute for Asier Illarramendi. A couple of dashing runs showed the threat that he carries. He was hauled down on the edge of the box and also saw a shot well saved by Courtois, but he could not spark a revival.
Diego Costa: B+
The forward is not to everyone’s liking, given his spiky approach and constant verbals. But what is not in dispute is his effectiveness. He was a thorn in the side of Sergio Ramos all evening and scored the decisive goal with a deft finish. He missed out on an ‘A’ as he fluffed a great chance in the second half, while his repeated attempts to win soft free kicks also cost him.