Luciano Vietto grabbed a late equaliser as Atletico Madrid held Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw at the Vicente Calderon in the 211st capital derby on Sunday.
Sergio Ramos returned to the heart of Los Blancos’ backline after he recovered from a shoulder injury, although Gareth Bale was only good enough for the substitutes’ bench, as Madrid adopted a 4-3-3 formation, with Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo flanking Karim Benzema up top, as opposed to their usual 4-2-3-1.
Atleti, on the other hand, went with Fernando Torres – looking for his 100th goal in Rojiblancos colours – spearheading their attack, as opposed to Jackson Martinez, in what was otherwise an unchanged XI from their defeat to Benfica midweek.
A cagey start was witnessed at the Calderon, with both teams adopting a patient style in order to stifle one another out and avoid the prospect of being counterattacked.
Chances were few and far between as a result, yet Benzema continued his goalscoring start to the season with a bullet header from Dani Carvajal’s cross after the right-back had left Filipe Luis in his wake.
Atleti were then presented with a glorious opportunity to draw level, when Ramos clumsily followed up his impeccably-timed challenge on Torres in the box with another not so much on Tiago Mendes, but Keylor Navas guessed correctly to parry Antoine Griezmann’s penalty wide.
However, Madrid were to suffer a huge blow moments later as Carvajal – arguably their best performer – was forced off with a suspected injury after he came off worse for wear from a collision with Oliver Torres.
The defensive nature of the contest remained very much prevalent after the restart, with Torres dragging a shot off target for a Madrid throw the only meaningful opportunity prior to the hour mark.
But while Madrid were content with the status quo, Atleti weren’t as Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, Jackson Martinez and Vietto were all thrown on to conjure up an equaliser.
Jackson initially came the closest out of the trio, firing a close-range effort just wide of Navas’ near post, but he combined with the Argentine for the elusive finish, getting to the byline and drilling a cross into the box for his teammate to mop up, aided by a misjudgement from the goalkeeper.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, failed to celebrate becoming Madrid’s all-time top scorer, with only a snapshot and penalty appeal in the dying embers, having been nudged off the ball by Diego Godin in the area, to show for.
However, it could have got even better for Atleti, had Navas not made the save of the evening to deny Jackson, the striker’s thunderous effort from the visitors’ D forcing the Costa Rican into tipping the ball wide.
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Real Madrid
Benzema 9, Vietto 83
Atletico Madrid: Oblak; Juanfran, Godin, Gimenez, Filipe; Oliver (Carrasco 46), Gabi, Tiago, Correa (Vietto 58); Griezmann; Torres (Jackson 64)
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal (Arbeloa 42), Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Ronaldo, Benzema (Kovacic 77), Isco (Bale 66)
Referee: Undiano Mallenco