Bale recalled for Madrid derby

Apr 09, 2018, 01:25

I want to be free and think only about the French team.

But the morbo rivalry started early with cheers for Atletico right-back Juanfran Torres that recalled his missed penalty in the 2016 Champions League final shootout.

Thomas and Vitolo returned to the side in the place of Correa and Gabi.

And the Atletico goalkeeper yet again thwarted the Champions League holders in the 27th minute, as he reacted quickly to deny Raphael Varane from firing in from close range. However, the goal was ruled due to foul on Sergio Ramos in the build-up.

"It is a pity as we had many chances".

But Antoine Griezmann equalised for Atletico few minutes later after Ronaldo's opener to secure a share of the points for his side. Bale nearly had it but put a hard header wide, while Sergio Ramos nodded past from a corner and saw his curling free-kick tipped over by Jan Oblak.

One point apiece was fair for two teams whose focus is on Europa competition.

The Madrid derby returns as Santiago Bernabeu welcomes Diego Simeone's' side for one of the biggest games of the season.

On Griezmann, Atletico coach Diego Simeone said: "He is a great player, he did not have a good start to the season and he knows it and it is not easy to reinvent himself in the way he did in November, December". Bale was given the freedom of the Bernabeu by the Atletico defence on the left wing and he made them pay by sending an inch-perfect cross into Ronaldo to score with a well-taken volley at the back post - his 650th career goal.

"When they scored we responded immediately, and we saw a game we could win with Koke and [Angel] Correa". Griezmann thus marked his 200th game for the club with his 108th goal, 18 of which have come in 20 games during 2018.

The result keeps second-placed Atletico four points above Real - but 11 points behind leaders Barcelona, who beat Leganes 3-1 on Saturday.

"We have to do our work well and play a complete game".

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC.