Resurgent Atletico aim win at Real's Santiago Bernabeu — Madrid derby

Resurgent Atletico aim win at Real's Santiago Bernabeu — Madrid derby

Resurgent Atletico aim win at Real's Santiago Bernabeu — Madrid derby

Bale had come close to scoring for Real, who improved after the interval and nearly snatched a victor in stoppage time when captain Sergio Ramos headed narrowly wide from a corner.

Visitors Atletico had the better chances before the break, with Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois denying his former side's strikers Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa.

Real's best attempt before the interval was a volley from Bale which narrowly missed the far post, and the home side almost scored when Oblak carelessly kicked the ball straight to Asensio, but it bounced off the forward and back into the Slovenian's hands. A first-half goal by Kevin Gameiro - and a second-half penalty kick save by goalkeeper Neto - gave Valencia its first win in eight matches in all competitions.

With Barcelona drawing 1-1 last night away to Athletic Bilbao, it means the red-and-white half of Madrid remain within two points of top spot in La Liga. 'Just as we don't stop when we win, we'll not stop at defeats either. "This is a long, hard league, and each game has maximum difficulty for all the teams".

Few will doubt Griezmann's ability and importance to Atletico, as he is a goal threat and extremely effective at knitting play together between midfield and attack, as highlighted by the 17 assists he claimed over the past two seasons. This is impressive for such an expansive system which commits so many players forward. Atletico are a great team, have joined the elite with magnificent signings, have a spectacular squad.

"For me, this is a game, I like to have fun with my team-mates and with players from other teams".

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"The team is improving and, as a result, the individuals are improving too", the Argentine said.

There were worries about Julen Lopetegui after his side were dismantled in a 4-2 victory by their city rivals in the Super Cup, his first competitive match as Los Blancos manager, but they won five of the next seven games. "It made sense to take him off for precaution. We will test him tomorrow (Sunday) and we'll see".

Leaving a little over two weeks for Bale to resume fitness, Ireland will undoubtedly be pleased with any potential weakening of the Welshman's unique talents. It needed the magic of the absent Isco, not to mention the power lost with Cristiano Ronaldo, who was always decisive in the big games.

"The goals will come".

"We deserved the win but unfortunately we didn't manage to convert our chances".

At the start of the second half there was silence in the stands of Santiago Bernabeu Stadium when fans saw that Bale did not come out of the locker room after halftime. "We've only just begin but I'm delighted with the motivation and predisposition the players have shown".

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