Antoine Griezmann stars as Atletico Madrid extend unbeaten derby run
A second-half strike from Antoine Griezmann helped Atletico Madrid claim the bragging rights in the Spanish capital once again as they downed Real Madrid 1-0.
The result condemns Zinedine Zidane to his first defeat as Real manager, in addition to moving Atleti four points above their city rivals in the table. To make the victory -- which was hard-fought and at times not pretty -- even sweeter, it was Los Colchoneros' third consecutive league win at the Bernabeu.
Overall, Atletico have now gone six league derbies without defeat and this latest result was probably just about deserved given their all-round performance. After weathering an early storm from the hosts, Atleti grew into the game and showed pace, power and a cutting edge on the break that their opponents did not possess.
While the chance of winning the title seems remote, with just 12 games to go Diego Simeone will be confident of finishing the season above Real for the second time in three seasons.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best; players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Jan Oblak, 7 -- Made a good save from a Cristiano Ronaldo free kick that was swerving dangerously, but apart from smothering a couple of crosses he had little else to do and racked up his 17th clean sheet of the season in La Liga.
DF Juanfran, 7 -- A very good attacking outlet, especially in the second half as Atleti exploited the space down Madrid's flanks. At one point he beat three defenders with a drop of the shoulder and cut through the defence.
DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 7 -- The youngster was recalled after being dropped in midweek and, although not at his dominating best, he managed to make a number of crucial clearances with his side under the cosh. He did get caught under one cross that saw Ronaldo have a free header, but apart from that was comfortable.
DF Diego Godin, 7 -- Another defender who was not at his absolute best but rarely looked truly troubled. He had to walk a disciplinary tightrope for 65 minutes after picking up a booking, but apart from that he easily dealt with what the Madrid attack threw at him. He also went close with a header just before half-time.
DF Filipe Luis, 8 -- Arguably his best performance since returning to the club last summer. Set the tone with two vital clearances early on and was a consistent menace for the home side as he piled forward when possible. Played a lovely return ball for Griezmann to score the goal when he could have been greedier and gone for goal himself.
MF Saul Niguez, 8 -- The 21-year-old's stock continues to grow. Played in an unnatural role on the right-hand side of the midfield four, he helped Filipe deal with Dani Carvajal and James Rodriguez, while his neat touches and control were vital when Atletico transitioned into the counter. Denied late on by a Keylor Navas save.
MF Gabi, 7 -- A captain's display. Gabi was hard in the tackle, neat in possession and there to put pressure on the referee when his side needed him to as things got heated.
MF Augusto Fernandez, 8 -- It was a bold call by Simeone to send him straight back in from injury into a derby, but the show of faith was rewarded by an excellent display in defensive midfield. He rightly earned the praise of his coach in the post-match press conference.
MF Koke, 7 -- Like Saul, the Spaniard was required to play a limited role on the left-hand side. While his set piece delivery was hit-and-miss, his use of the ball in possession was good and he forced Navas into a neat save low down in the first half.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 9 -- He had struggled of late, but the Frenchman stepped up. In addition to his tireless running for the good of the team, he also gave Madrid a number of things to think about. He went close with a rasping drive in the first half that Navas had to tip over, while his goal came following his tenacious tackle in midfield.
FW Fernando Torres, 6 -- Was full of running and his pressing was effective on a couple of occasions when he won the ball back high up the pitch. Aside from that was anonymous.
MF Matias Kranevitter, NR -- Came on for the final quarter of an hour to replace the tiring Augusto.
FW Angel Correa, NR -- Was useful for the final 10 minutes on the counter and drew in a number of fouls for free kicks with neat footwork.
Joseph is a sports journalist based in the Spanish capital and covers Atletico Madrid regularly. Follow him on Twitter @Joe_in_espana.