Real Madrid were forced to settle for a point as Atletico Madrid held Los Blancos to a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon during an afternoon where the signs of summer had truly arrived in the Spanish capital.
Although the hosts controlled proceedings in the opening 45 minutes, it was not until the second half where they made their dominance count as Cristiano Ronaldo continued his excellent run of goalscoring form by lashing home a beautifully-timed volley to mark his 650th career goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo's career so far:— bet365 (@bet365) April 8, 2018
5 Ballon d'Ors
4 Golden Boots
3 FIFA Awards
But their advantage lasted just four minutes as Antoine Griezmann blasted home from around 12 yards to grab a share of the spoils for the visitors.
The stalemate marks the fifth consecutive game where Atletico Madrid have escaped the home of their nearest neighbours without defeat. However, the draw does afford Barcelona the opportunity to extend their advantage at the top of La Liga to 11 points, and all but confirms this year's title will be lifted in Catalonia.
Atletico Madrid are now unbeaten in their last five LaLiga games at the Bernabéu.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 8, 2018
Antoine Griezmann has scored in each of the last three. pic.twitter.com/Kx9TbM98rq
As expected, Real Madrid assumed the ascendancy during the opening exchanges of the contest, with Zinedine Zidane's men enjoying long spells of possession in and around the Atleti area.
However, maybe more surprisingly, given his current form, it was Ronaldo who spurned the hosts' clearest opportunity during the opening quarter of an hour as the Portugal international was found from a corner at the back post unmarked less than six yards from goal.
Gareth Bale rose highest in the area and flicked the cross towards his attacking team-mate, but the 33-year-old's reactions were not quick enough to force any meaningful contact onto the knock on, and the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's effort nestled safely in Jan Oblak's arms.
Real Madrid fans before kick off in the Madrid derby ⚪️ pic.twitter.com/08gOabIwvn— COPA90 (@COPA90) April 8, 2018
Following Ronaldo's opening, Los Blancos continued to plug away, and the vast majority of the overspilling
Jan Oblak catching and holding saves is what makes him in a different league to all keepers around today. The man is brilliant. Vamos Atleti!!! ⚪️⚪️— ⚽️La Liga Gav ⚽️ (@LaLigaGav) April 8, 2018
Los Vikingos' pressure continued to mount as half-time approached; however, Diego Costa possibly should have put the visitors ahead shortly after the 30-minute mark as he sprang the offside trap only to be denied by Keylor Navas.
But the hosts' assault on the opposition goal almost eventually provided the scoreline advantage it had deserved, as Marcelo clattered the woodwork from range through a deliciously bending effort. However, it was not to be for Los Blancos, and Oblak's stunning first half showing meant his side were still on level terms as referee
#RealMadridAtleti 0-0 HT: Real certainly the more dominant side out of the two in the first half and should probably have had a penalty as Juanfran tripped Kroos. But Atleti have shown they have what it takes to hurt Zidane's side on the counter. A contest brilliantly poised.— Joe Owens (@jwpowens) April 8, 2018
However, it took Atletico Madrid a mere four minutes to respond, as Griezmann sent the
After things were brought back to level terms, a lull in quality at either end followed, with neither side able to fashion a clear opportunity in the final 30 minutes and both seemingly eyeing their European commitments later in the week.
But Oblak was called into action once more, in stoppage time, as Sergio Ramos' bending free kick look destined to win the derby, only for the 25-year-old goalkeeper to somehow deny the centre back, who had taken over set-piece duties following Ronaldo's substitution.
The result leaves the gap between the two sides at four points, but now surely ends any doubt that this year's La Liga title is heading to Barcelona.