There's still another leg to be played in Atlético Madrid's Copa del Rey Round of 16 tie against local rivals Real Madrid, but they're heading to the Santiago Bernabeu as massive favorites to advance. They were superb defensively on Wednesday night, notching a comfortable 2-0 win at home in which they never looked like conceding.
Cristiano Ronaldo was rested to start the game, then introduced after the hosts went ahead. His side didn't improve much after he came on, and he struggled to make a meaningful impact.
Real Madrid's first and only real chance in the game came 45 seconds in, when Jan Oblak made a brilliant save to prevent Sergio Ramos from heading in the opening goal off a corner. From then on, it was all Atléti, even though they allowed Los Merengues to have all of the possession.
This game marked the second Atléti debut of Fernando Torres, who had a very good defensive game up top, even though he wasn't able to score. His most exciting attacking moment came in the 5th minute when he ran in behind and tried to chip Keylor Navas, but he was flagged for offside.
There were no goals in the first half, though there were some dramatic moments on both ends. Gareth Bale had a goal disallowed for offside in the 13th minute, and Navas had to make a good stop on Antoine Griezmann from 15 yards a minute later. Griezmann almost scored again seven minutes after that when he found himself in on goal, but Raphael Varane made a brilliant goal-saving tackle before he could shoot.
Atléti's opening goal was gifted to them by Ramos, who pulled Raúl Garcia down by his shoulders in the box in the 56th minute. Garcia stepped up to take the penalty himself and barely beat Navas, who went the right way, to put his team on the board. Their second came 20 minutes later on a set piece, with youngster Jose Maria Gimenez scoring on an outstanding header.
The visitors melted down a bit mentally after that. Alvaro Arbeloa was lucky not to be sent off for a terrible 80th minute tackle on Gabi, which led to Carlo Ancelotti substituting his right back. Atléti didn't look the least bit bothered in their defensive shell for the rest of the match.
This is the second game Madrid have lost in a row after a 22-game winning streak, and this loss also ends a 10-game winning streak in the Copa del Rey. The second leg of this tie is on Thursday, January 15.
Atlético Madrid: Oblak, Hernández, Godin, Giménez, Gámez, Suárez, Gabi, Griezmann (Mandžukić 75'), Garcia, Saúl (Turan 68'), Torres (Koke 59')
Goals: Garcia (penalty 58')
Real Madrid: Navas, Marcelo, Ramos, Varane, Arbeloa (Carvajal 83'), Khedira, Kroos, Isco, James (Ronaldo 63'), Benzema (Jese 75'), Bale
1. Gareth Bale is in awful form - He was bad against Valencia, for which Ronaldo and Karim Benzema were mad at him. Then he was worse in this game. His first touch looked off, he couldn't even make himself available for passes in dangerous areas and just generally did nothing. Manchester United are starting to feel more and more confident by the match that they can snag him.
2. Atléti are still good at defending - This was an absolute masterpiece from Diego Simeone's men. Not only did Real Madrid get shut out, they hardly had a chance. Their best opportunity to score came off a set piece 45 seconds into the game. They didn't scare Jan Oblak or make him work after that, and the two central defenders didn't have to make any desperate, last-ditch plays either. It was more than a clean sheet. It was a mauling.
3. The second leg will be the same thing for 90 minutes - Okay, so the rojiblancos have a 2-0 lead heading to the Bernabeu. What are they going to do? Put 11 men behind the ball! They started with nine behind in this game, switched to 10 behind when they scored, and will almost certainly make almost no effort to attack in the second leg. Madrid are going to have to score early in that game to make this tie interesting. On the evidence of this game, Atléti can hold onto a 2-0 lead.