Real Madrid hand Atletico Madrid first league defeat of the season

Real Madrid 2-0 Atletico Madrid: Casemiro’s early header put the home side in front before Carvajal’s strike bounced in off Oblak

Zinedine Zidane: 'Every madridista can be proud of the team'

Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 in LaLiga on Saturday night to close the gap at the top.

Conceding twice without reply doubled the number of goals Atletico had allowed in the entire season to this point, while also meaning a first league loss of the campaign for Diego Simeone’s team.

The first early chance fell the way of Karim Benzema, who turned on the edge of the box and crashed in a left-footed shot - which drew a superb fingertip save onto the post from Jan Oblak, who had conceded just two goals in 10 league matches heading into the derby.

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That soon became three in 11, as a Toni Kroos corner was met by an unmarked Casemiro who powered a header into the bottom corner to give Real the early lead.

Zinedine Zidane had stated ahead of the match that Atletico would be favourites, but los rojiblancos struggled for any kind of fluency for most of the first 45 minutes, with wing-backs Kieran Trippier and Yannick Carrasco influential in recent games, but entirely marginalised here.

Real sat back more as the half wore on and Joao Felix was able to exert some semblance of control over the away team’s play, starting a few passing moves and winning a free-kick down the left, which saw Casemiro booked for a crude challenge and suspended for Real’s midweek game against Athletic Club.

But the improvement was marginal at best, and by the time the whistle sounded for the break, Atleti still hadn’t managed a single shot of any kind in the game, while Real once or twice threatened to increase their lead on the counter-attack.

Simeone was clearly riled by his team’s first half and sent Atletico back out with three half-time changes, switching to their old 4-4-2 system in the process.

The extra man higher in midfield allowed more pressure on the Real Madrid midfield and Atletico soon had their first shot of the game - and sub Thomas Lemar should have equalised, but found only the side-netting from close-range after a low cross from the right.

Just after the hour mark, though, Simeone’s side suffered a huge blow as Dani Carvajal’s piledriver from 25 yards out struck the base of the post, rebounded onto the diving Oblak and rolled over the line to double Real’s lead.

The game opened up in the closing stages and Thibaut Courtois had to save from Saul and watch a Lemar shot fly just over the bar, but Real were largely effective in their game management and move up to third in the table with the win, within three points of Atletico - who still have a game in hand.

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