Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid played to a 2-2 draw in a fantastically entertaining match at the Vicente Calderón Stadium. Karim Benzema gave the visitors an early lead but Atléti fought back to take a lead at halftime. Cristiano Ronaldo's goal with seven minutes to play helped Madrid grab a point and maintain their three point lead at the top of La Liga.
Real Madrid wasted no time sucking the air out of the stadium, scoring an early goal to take the lead in the third minute. Angel di María's cross from the right wing found the foot of Karim Benzema, who'd snuck past the defensive line, for a toe poke past Thibault Courtois. Diego Simone was furious, claiming Benzema was offside, but replays showed Atléti fullback Filipe Luis had failed to step up quickly enough and kept the striker onside.
Atléti were denied a clear penalty in the 11th minute when the referee missed Sergio Ramos clipping Diego Costa on the left side of the box. Arda Turan ended up seeing yellow after blowing up at the referee and the fans were less than pleased as well, showering the corner of the pitch with debris.
Courtois was tested twice midway through the first half and came up big both times. The first came in the 23rd minute when di María again found Benzema with a ridiculous long pass. The striker's shot was blocked away by the Atléti goalkeeper for a corner. A minute later Courtois denied Cristiano Ronaldo's close-range back heel attempt.
In the 28th minute Atléti found a much-needed equalizer off the foot of Koke. Good ball movement from Los Colchoneros helped create the chance as Madrid's defense got spread out, creating space for Koke on the right side of the 18-yard box. Arda Turan found him with a low cross and Koke sent a low shot past Diego López and inside the far post to even the match at 1-1.
Atléti weren't done though.
After putting Real Madrid under heavy pressure over the final 15 minutes of the first half, Gabi put his team ahead in stoppage time with a missile from nearly 40 yards out. The chance came after Atléti were awarded a free kick deep in the midfield.
Luka Modrić was shifted over in front of Koke, acting as a one-man wall and creating the large pocket of space that Gabi would exploit. After Koke sent a short pass to the Atléti captain, Modrić couldn't close fast enough, allowing Gabi to uncork a curling shot that caught López off guard, finding the back of the net to give Atléti a 2-1 lead at the break.
After more no-calls from the match referee, Atlético Madrid assistant coach Germán Burgos had seen enough and talked his way into a sending off from referee Carlos Delgado Ferreira. Burgos immediately got in Delgado's face and it took nearly 10 players and fellow coaches to pull him away and prevent a potentially ugly incident.
Ronaldo just missed an equalizer in the 74th minute, sending a snap header just wide of the post.
In the 82nd minute however, Ronaldo did not miss and pulled Madrid even at 2-2. Some poor defending by Atléti created the chance as a blocked cross in the box trickled right to Ronaldo, who took advantage of the scramble and beat Courtois low and to the left.
Real Madrid remains three points clear of Atléti at the top of La Liga but should the teams end up tied at the end, the result gives Atléti the head-to-head tiebreaker over their rivals.
Atlético Madrid: Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe Luis, Suarez, Gabi, Koke, Raúl García, Turan (Rodriguez 83'), Diego Costa
Goals: Benzema (3'), Ronaldo (82')
Real Madrid: Diego López, Arbeloa (Carvajal 71'), Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Coentrão (Marcelo 59'), Xabi Alonso, Modrić, Di María (Isco 72'), Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo
Goals: Koke (28'), Gabi (45'+1')