The Paw Print
The derby of Madrid
The 26th round of the Spanish Primera Division was played at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, on March 3rd in front of 54,600 people. Just like in every other sport, there are some rivalries in the soccer world that people not only look forward to but passionately expect, knowing that this particular game is something more than just a game. It is a city conflict which the people from the opposite parts of Madrid have had for more than 100 years. Athletico and Real drew 2:2 after the end of the 90 minutes, but both of the teams had a part of the game, which they dominated through and could have won the three points. Real Madrid’s coach Carlo Ancelotti made some changes in his team’s starting line up which ended up not being really successful throughout the first half. Real Madrid’s starting left and right backs, Marcelo and Carvajal respectively, were both left on the bench for Fabio Coentrao and Alvaro Arbeloa. Starting the game with the new 4-3-3 formation, Carlo Ancelotti put Angel Di Maria as a central left midfielder, which ended up not having the expected result. Di Maria’s defensive play was definitely not up to the expected standards, and Fabio Coentrao’s performance also left the majority of Real fans unsatisfied. However, the game started great for the team considered as the “favorites” before the game, and Real Madrid managed to score in the 3rd minute through Karim Benzema. Athletico didn’t allow this goal to frustrate them and they slowly but surely gained control over the remaining part of the first half. They managed to equalize in the 28th minute through a goal by Athletico’s 22-year-old midfielder, Koke. The home team’s solid and consistent performance throughout the first half brought them a second goal in the end of the half. The goal scorer this time was Gabi Fernandez after a shot from over 30 yards. Real Madrid’s goalkeeper, Diego Lopez didn’t react adequately to Fernandez’s long-range effort and ended up conceding otherwise, a preventable goal. The tables turned during the second half and Real Madrid became the more active of the two teams. The visitors from “Santiago Bernabeu” dominated in terms of possession and created some good goal scoring opportunities. In the 70th minute, Ancelotti put Isco and Carvajal in the game, taking out Di Maria and Arbeloa. This definitely changed the rhythm of the game and made Real Madrid look a lot more “dangerous” and creative in the attack. The team’s effort paid off in the 82nd minute when the world’s best player for 2013, Cristiano Ronaldo, equalized after an assist from Carvajal. The 1 point that Real got from Vicente Calderon on Sunday kept them as the current leaders in La Liga but only with 1 point ahead of F.C. Barcelona and on 3 in front of Athletico Madrid.