Gareth Bale’s long-awaited Real Madrid home debut ended in disappointment as Atletico Madrid beat Los Blancos 1-0 to register their first league victory over Real for 14 years on Saturday.
Gareth Bale’s long-awaited Real Madrid home debut ended in disappointment as Atletico Madrid beat Los Blancos 1-0 to register their first league victory over Real for 14 years on Saturday. Bale started on the bench and had to watch on as Koke played in Diego Costa to slot Atletico into an 11th minute lead. The Welshman was then called upon by Carlo Ancelotti at half-time to turn things in Real’s favour, but he wasn’t able to impact the game greatly as Atletico maintained their 100 percent start to the campaign. They have 21 points from seven games and are second on goal difference behind Barcelona who also have seven wins from seven after clinching a 2-0 win at Almeria. After a cagey opening 10 minutes, the Madrid derby burst into life when Koke played Costa in behind the home defence and the Brazilian slotted home his eighth goal in seven league games. Even the goal though couldn’t shake Real out of their early malaise and it took until the 20th minute for Thibaut Courtois to be forced into a save as he palmed Karim Benzema’s flicked header behind. The French striker had a much clearer headed opportunity from another Angel di Maria pass six minutes later but this time failed to even find the target. And it was Atletico who should have doubled their tally before half-time on more than one occasion. Firstly, Tiago squandered a glorious chance as he headed over when completely unmarked from Koke’s header before Diego Lopez made a fine save to deny Gabi and then Costa just couldn’t bundle home the rebound as Real struggled to cope with another corner. Ancelotti reacted to his side’s flat first-half display at half-time as he introduced both Bale and Luka Modric with Asier Illarramendi and Di Maria making way. However, Lopez again had to keep Real in the game with an excellent low block as Costa raced clear on goal 15 minutes into the second period. Bale forced Courtois into his first stop after the break with a low drive which the Belgian handled confidently. Cristiano Ronaldo then fired a free-kick over the bar and saw another effort spilled by Courtois. Koke was unlucky not to seal the three points for Atletico 10 minutes from time when his curling effort from the edge of the area came back off the crossbar.