Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid battled to a goalless draw in the first leg of their Champions League quarter final first leg on Tuesday night.
Jan Oblak was perhaps the home side's hero on the night, making a number of saves to deny Real's multitude of attacking talent. Atletico had their moments too, but failed to create too many clear cut chances over the course of the 90 minutes.
A cagey Madrid derby finishes 0-0 at the Vicente Calderon in the quarter-final first leg between Atletico and Real Madrid.— SkySportsCL (@SkySportsCL) April 14, 2015
An action packed first half should have had a goal in it at the very least, as the reigning European champions peppered Oblak's goal with shots from all angles. The match began at a ridiculous tempo - typical of a tie like this - but Gareth Bale was guilty of wasting the first, and perhaps best chance of the half.
After a poor piece of play from Diego Godin, the Welshman found himself one-on-one with the Slovenian stopper. Bale hit the ball straight down the middle but with decent power, though the on-rushing Atletico man got a firm hand to the ball to divert it away.
Bale though to his credit was very much involved. He spent most of the half floating between a central and his wide right position and saw plenty of the ball as a result. Midway through the half he took it upon himself to shoot from distance, though Oblak was on hand to stop him again. Real spent the majority of the half in possession, with Atletico at times chasing shadows. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in particular were recycling possession high up the pitch and capitalising on anything that ran loose.
Sergio Ramos was allowed to do a similar job further back, stepping out from his position given he had no threat going in behind. Mario Mandzukic was not the type of threat he seemed worried about. His centre half partner though caught the eye in an attacking sense in the latter stages of the half, darting out on a counter attack with the ball with a run that Ronaldo or Bale would have been proud of.
His cross went deep and found James Rodriguez, who worked space for himself but could only blast low towards Oblak, who kept it at 0-0. His attempt was his second in around five minutes to be brilliantly denied, after he'd earlier stopped the Colombian's attempt from the edge of the box.
The home side failed to muster anything worthwhile at the other end, with only half chances to feed off. They'll have thanked their goalkeeper for the match being level at the break, but they turned up following the interval clearly motivated by Diego Simeone's half time words.
Their spell on top didn't seem to last though - even if there was a little more balance to the game. Mario Mandzukic clashed with Sergio Ramos within five minutes of the restart, picking up a nasty cut as a result of an accidental elbow. He complained, but ironically came back on and picked up a booking for himself for the same action.
Fouls: Mario Mandzukic 7-7 Real Madrid. pic.twitter.com/EqAUU4KBU6— Footy Jokes (@Footy_Jokes) April 14, 2015
The second period was a far cagier affair. That's not to say there weren't chances, but Atletico had tightened up at the back for the most part. Real broke down the left side midway through the second half and Karim Benzema was found unmarked in the box, but the Frenchman squared to Bale - who saw his shot blocked before switching to Ronaldo - and his shot ultimately met the same fate.
Bale and Ronaldo were put together in a central front two as Real pushed for a late away goal, but it was to no avail. Instead, it was the home side to cast the late pressure and go closest to finding a breakthrough late on - with Iker Casillas and a number of Real defenders making a series of blocks in one or two late scrambles.
Over the balance of play Real will perhaps be disappointed not to have scored on the night, while Atletico will be happy with a 0-0 and their chances of scoring an away goal in the return tie next week. It's certainly delicately poised.
ATLETICO: Oblak; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Guilherme; Arda, Mario Suarez, Gabi, Koke (Torres 83); Mandzukic, Griezmann (Raúl García 77).