Mon, Feb 09, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Atletico thrash woeful Real Madrid

AFP, MADRID

Atletico Madrid’s Tiago, top, goes for a header against Real Madrid’s Fabio Coentrao, left, and Ignacio Fernandez during their Spanish La Liga match at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on Saturday.

Photo: Reuters

Atletico Madrid blew the La Liga title race wide open by extending their unbeaten run over Real Madrid to six games this season with a 4-0 thrashing of the European champions on Saturday.

First-half goals from Tiago and Saul Niguez put Atletico in command before Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic sealed a first home league win over Real Madrid since 1999 just after the hour mark.

Atletico have now beaten their city rivals twice in La Liga and over two legs in the Spanish Supercup and Copa del Rey this season to bounce back in fine style from their heartbreaking loss in the Champions League final last season.

“It is easy to analyze this game, because Atletico were better in every facet of the game: they fought more, had more quality on the ball, had better organization, everything,” Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti said.

“It is the worst game we have played since I have been coach,” he added.

World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo returned from a two-game ban, but the visitors were otherwise depleted without the injured Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Luka Modric, James Rodriguez and suspended Marcelo.

Atletico suffered an injury blow of their own after just 10 minutes, when Spanish international Koke limped off, but that curse turned into a blessing as he was replaced by Saul.

The hosts went in front on 13 minutes when Mandzukic laid Juanfran’s cross from the right into the path of Tiago on the edge of the area and the Portuguese’s low effort had too much power for Iker Casillas, who probably feels like he should have kept it out.

Four minutes later, Atletico doubled their lead with a move of real quality as Guilherme Siqueira hurtled down the left and his cross was acrobatically turned home by Saul with an overhead kick.

Real Madrid barely offered anything as an attacking threat in the first period, and coach Carlo Ancelotti responded by introducing Jese Rodriguez for Khedira at the break.

Real Madrid’s embarrassment was complete a minute from time when substitute Fernando Torres crossed for Mandzukic to power home a header into the far corner.

Elsewhere, Villarreal moved to within a point of Sevilla in fourth with a routine 2-0 win over Granada, thanks to goals either side of half-time from Mateo Musacchio and Gerard Moreno.

David Moyes has still managed just three La Liga wins in 11 games since taking charge of Real Sociedad, as Nolito’s late equalizer handed Celta Vigo a share of the spoils at Anoeta.

Moyes’ men are now just five points above the relegation zone after Levante ended a nine-game winless streak in emphatic fashion with a 4-1 rout of Malaga to move up to 17th.

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