Llorente strikes late against Real to keep LALIGA title race alive

Marc Llorenten seals draw for Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid.
The 236th Madrid derby ended in dramatic fashion as Marcos Llorente’s stoppage-time equaliser secured Atlético a draw and prevented Real Madrid from opening up a four-point gap at the La Liga summit.

Real Madrid missed the chance to go four points clear at the top of LALIGA after drawing with neighbouring Atletico Madrid.

As far as preparations go for a huge Madrid derby clash, the Los Blancos couldn’t have gone much worse. Already plagued by injuries, largely in defence, Carlo Ancelotti must’ve been left fearing the worst when Vinícius Junior was forced to pull out of the starting XI after sustaining an injury in the warm-up.

That was certainly a blow, but Vinícius’ misfortune opened the door for Brahim Díaz to come into the XI and he repaid his boss’ faith early on, taking full advantage of a fortunate ricochet that allowed him to turn the ball home from six yards.

Falling behind didn’t particularly deter Atlético, who twice came close to hitting back straight away – both from set pieces – with Axel Witsel and Stefan Savić wasting good-headed opportunities.

Swinging crosses into the box seemed to be the best avenue to success for Diego Simeone’s side, but the main problem for Los Colchoneros wasn’t creating chances, it was taking them, with Saúl Ñíguez the latest in a growing line of Atlético players to spurn a glorious headed opportunity when he glanced wide despite being unmarked on the penalty spot.



Antoine Griezmann spurns chance from edge of the box against Real Madrid

Madrid hadn’t learned their lesson at the break and were soon picking the ball out of the back of their net when Savić headed home from Antoine Griezmann’s corner.

Fortunately for Los Blancos, Saúl was impeding goalkeeper Andriy Lunin in an offside position, and VAR adjudged his impact was enough to prevent the Ukrainian from keeping the ball out of the net.

That decision seemed to take the wind out of Atleti’s sails, and they were fortunate to still be in the game heading into the final quarter when Brahim curled an effort inches wide of the target in what was a huge let-off for the visitors.

It certainly wasn’t lack of endeavour that saw Atlético fail to score, but beating Lunin was proving to be a difficult task, as Griezmann found out when his cute flick from Ángel Correa’s cross was rebuffed by the Ukrainian.

Their near-relentless pressure eventually paid dividends in the 93rd minute when a bouncing ball in the area was headed home by Llorente to the dismay of the Blancos faithful, who had seen their side’s chances of stretching their lead over second-placed Girona go up in smoke.

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