Atletico, Real Madrid Play to 0-0 Draw, Remain 10 Points Behind Barcelona

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 18, 2017

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 18: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid  during the Spanish Primera Division   match between Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on November 18, 2017 in Madrid Spain (Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Madrid derby rivals Atletico and Real remain level on points in La Liga's standings after running to a 0-0 stalemate on Saturday in what was a dull but heated affair between two bitter enemies.

Neither side could unearth a winner in the first Madrid derby to be played at Atletico's new Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, where it was Real who had the majority of chances after a slow start. Captain Sergio Ramos only played the first half after a kick to the face forced him off at half-time.

Saturday's sharing of the spoils means Atletico and Real both stay 10 points off leaders Barcelona, while second-placed Valencia will also be pleased to stay three points above the Madrid duo.

Los Blancos made the short trip to the Wanda Metropolitano having beaten Atletico only once in their last eight visits to their old venue, the Vicente Calderon, hoping to set a better record in a new setting.

The visitors were almost handed a nightmare start when Angel Correa had time in behind the Real defence but could only clip his shot wide of the right post, and FourFourTwo's Kiyan Sobhani noted Marcelo's part in the mess:

Kiko Casilla deputised in Real's goal for the absent Keylor Navas and found the hosts were the ones applying the majority of pressure early on, but scoring chances grew hard to come by during a tense first half. Antoine Griezmann was one of those in need of a goal after seven matches without scoring.

So much was at stake in the first capital club derby of the 2017-18 season, and Real could perhaps afford to take their time more in seeking out the opener as visitors, having already suffered two defeats this season.

Isco and Marcelo were two of Real's more active attackers down the left flank and gave Atleti right-back Juanfran a difficult time as the intensity levels began to rise and tackles gradually became more venomous.

One of the worst among those was a challenge from centre-back Stefan Savic on Toni Kroos, as shown by beIN Sports, with the travelling supporters adamant the defender should have been handed his marching orders:

There was also an incident in the first half where Real striker Karim Benzema dropped to the turf, only for Correa to pelt the ball at the Frenchman's head, although Atletico's forward escaped any punishment.

Further furore erupted among Real's players when captain Ramos received a boot to the face from Atletico left-back Lucas Hernandez, via Spanish newspaper Marca:

That blow left its mark not only on Ramos' face but on Real as a whole after their star centre-back had to withdraw at the interval, with Nacho Fernandez coming on as his replacement in central defence.

Belgian wide man Yannick Carrasco entered the fray after Los Merengues started the second half with more of a spring in their step, but it was Real who looked to become the aggressors entering the last third of the match.

Atleti boss Diego Simeone showed even more intent to snatch the win, bringing on striker duo Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres in place of the misfiring Correa and Griezmann with less than 15 minutes remaining.

The pair had hardly been on the pitch a minute before almost teaming up for the breakthrough goal, and Yahoo's Andrew Gaffney celebrated a heroic headed clearance from Varane:

Cristiano Ronaldo, who had only a few snapped shots at goal over the 90 minutes, was given a sight at goal from the right in the dying seconds, but Hernandez slid in at the death to deny what was Real's last great opening.

Both sets of fans are bound to pick flaws in the result, but a draw was the deserved outcome between two teams that looked too tentative to take risks at times, something Barca don't appear to be suffering from this term.