Atletico Madrid were hosts to their big crosstown rivals Real Madrid yesterday in the mouthwatering Champions League quarterfinal draw. Atletico held the current cup holders scoreless throughout, though managing few attempts on goal of their own. Fans like Sam Tabar know that the game was a cagey affair, with Atletico looking primarily to deny Real an away goal to bring back to the Bernabeu for next week’s second leg match. As such, Atletico played on the back foot for the whole first half, inviting pressure but remaining organized and compact in their shape, so as to stifle any real chances from the away side. That being said, right back Dani Caravajal continually found space wide on the right side in which to operate, forcing the Atletico defenders to clear from their own box numerous times. Furthermore, some rare miscues from Atletico’s back four led to clear cut chances for Madrid’s attacking players, Bale and James Rodriguez having the most memorable opportunities. Thanks to the superb play of Atletico goalie Jan Oblak, the home side emerged unscathed at the end of the half.
As the game wore on, Real found it even more difficult to break down Atletico, making for a scrappy back and forth midfield battle. Towards the very end, Atletico looked to snatch a late winner, but were denied in their few chances by Iker Casillas. The second leg will no doubt produce an equally intense and exciting match.