Atletico whip Real 4-0 in derby
BARCELONA, Spain (AP):
Atletico Madrid thrashed cross-town rivals Real Madrid 4-0 in a dominant derby performance yesterday that threw open the Spanish league title race.
The defending champions set the tone from the very start at Vicente Calderon Stadium as Tiago Cardoso and substitute Saul Niguez scored early before Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic sealed the lopsided victory in the second-half.
The return of Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo didn't help an injury-hit Madrid, which also got poor showings from their other star players.
"Madrid can't lose to any team 4-0," Ronaldo said. "We were lacking everything, desire, attitude."
Diego Simeone's side extended their undefeated streak to six meetings with Madrid since losing last season's Champions League final in added time.
Atletico may have had more important victories over their fiercest rival since ending Madrid's 14-year reign of their contests in the 2013 Copa del Rey final, but they had yet to beat Madrid at home in the league since the 1998-99 season.
Simeone, however, downplayed the significance of Atletico's most complete victory over Madrid in years, and one their fans will relish for a long time.
"It's just another league match," said Simeone, who also dusted off his mantra of "going forward game by game" when asked if the win rekindled his team's bid to repeat.
Atletico pulled to within four points of Madrid. Barcelona also trail Madrid by four before visiting Athletic Bilbao today.
Madrid were without injured first-choice players such as James Rodriguez, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, and Luka Modric, while Marcelo was suspended.