MADRID (Sporting Alert) — Atletico Madrid scored a stunning 4-0 victory over La Liga leader Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday to cut Real’s gap at the top of the table standings to four points.
Goals from Tiago, Saul Niguez, Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic setup the hammering victory for Atletico Madrid.
Real Madrid celebrated the return of star forward Cristian Ronaldo from suspension and he joined Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale in the attacking line.
However, the trio was unable to breakdown the hosts backline, and it was Atletico who took the lead after a mistake by goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
Tiago broke the deadlock in the 14th minute of play when he saw his shot missed-handled by Casillas, who failed to cover all his angles and the ball slip underneath his right arm and into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Four-minutes later Saul, who was a 10th minute substitute for Koke after he left the game early with an injury — doubled the lead with a superb overhead kick from just outside the six-yard area which went in off the post.
Real Madrid’s front three, led by Ronaldo, went on the hunt for a goal, but were unable to breakdown Atletico’s organized backline, as the home side went into the half-time interval up 2-0.
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti replaced midfielder Sami Khedira with forward Jese in search of goals in the second half, but once again, it was Atletico Madrid which found the back of the net through Griezmann, who connected from close range in the 67th minute.
Former Bayern Munich forward Mandzukic completed the one-sided affair with his team’s fourth goal on the day in the 89th minute.
Real Madrid played without regular starting center-backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe and their rivals took them apart in the local derby.
The victory saw Atletico Madrid pulling level with Barcelona on 50 points in the La Liga table standings, while Real Madrid stayed atop on 54pts.
STATS: Real Madrid finished with 55.1 percent of the game’s possession, while out-passing Atletico 462 to 369.
Atletico Madrid TEAM: Moya, Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Siqueira, Gabi, Tiago, Koke, Arda, Griezmann, Mandzukic
Real Madrid TEAM: Casillas, Varane, Nacho, Coentrao, Carvajal, Khedira, Kroos, Isco, Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema