Antoine Griezmann’s late equaliser gives Barcelona the opportunity to draw level with Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga table, after a disappointing 1-1 draw with rivals Atletico Madrid.

Real dominated the first half, and could’ve been three goals up if not for a sensational display from Atleti’s shot-stopper, Jan Oblak.

The Slovenian international saved brilliantly from Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema before Stefan Savic’s astonishing goal-line clearance silenced the Santiago Bernabeu’s premature celebrations from Ronaldo’s placed effort.

Atletico were uncharacteristically complacent in the first half and averaged a mediocre 78% pass accuracy. However, they were characteristically threatening on the counter attack.

In the 38th-minute, Griezmann latched on to Sergio Ramos’s misplaced pass and forced Keylor Navas into a smart save down to his left.

As the players entered the tunnel at the end of the first half, Zinedine Zidane would’ve hoped his side could’ve turned their dominant possession and intricate passing into a lead on the scoreline, however, he would be impressed with their overall performance.

On the other hand, Simeone would’ve been disappointed with a lacklustre first half performance and wary of an inform Ronaldo, with the talismanic winger’s hat-trick the last time the two sides met still fresh in the Argentinian’s mind.

Real continued their ascendancy into the second half with Ronaldo’s headed effort going wide, and Benzema denied from point blank range by a Peter Schmeichel-esque save from Oblak.

Los Blancos’s efforts were rewarded in the 52nd minute when Pepe headed Toni Kroos’s pinpoint delivery into the bottom corner; Real’s 24th headed goal of the season – nine more than any other side in Europe’s top five leagues.

Zidane’s team continued to dominate the game as the second half progressed, however, should’ve turned their constant possession and chance creation into goals, which ultimately cost them.

Despite their opposition’s control, Atletico continued to pose a threat on the break, reflected in Fernando Torres’s saved effort in the 60th minute, after the Spanish striker was one on one with Navas.

In the 85th minute, Griezmann equalised for Atletico with a customarily clinical finish past Navas, after substitute Angel Correa slotted the Frenchman through on goal.

Following the goal, Simeone brought on another defender in Jose Gimenez to ensure Atletico secured a point.

Man of the Match: Jan Oblak

The 24-year-old Slovenian international kept his side in the game multiple times as Los Blancos bombarded his goal with shots, making four exceptional saves in the game.

The draw means that Barcelona have the opportunity to draw level on points with Real at the top of the table and Atletico extend their lead from Jorge Sampaoli’s Sevilla in 4th place.

Oliver Walsh

 

 

 

 

 

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