Simeone rues win that got away as Benzema rescues Real Madrid in dramatic derby

By Sports Desk March 07, 2021

Diego Simeone said it was "a shame" Atletico Madrid could not see out victory over Real Madrid in Sunday's derby as he scoffed at those who predicted a runaway title triumph from his team.

A fine early strike from Luis Suarez after terrific work from Marcos Llorente put Atletico in the ascendancy on home soil, but they could not hold on to a narrow lead and Karim Benzema fired an 88th-minute equaliser to keep the visitors in with a sniff of a successful LaLiga defence.

Seconds before Benzema tucked the ball past Jan Oblak, Suarez attempted to play in Saul Niguez for a chance to double Atletico's lead, but the striker's pass was poorly executed.

It was a reminder of how quickly games can change, and it remains to be seen whether Benzema's goal proves a turning point in the season.

Atletico had been heading five points clear of second-placed Barcelona and eight ahead of Madrid, with a game in hand on both, but now those gaps are three and five points.

A return of nine points from Atletico's last six games has allowed the big two in Spain to close the gap on Simeone's pretenders to the throne.

The Atletico boss was asked whether a big opportunity had been missed and said: "I don't want to be extreme in what I say. I took away many important things.

"People thought we were going to win by 20 points, [but] we are playing against very powerful teams, Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Sevilla.

"It is going to be a difficult road for all of us and we want to improve on what we did last season."

Atletico were third last term, finishing well behind champions Madrid and Barcelona, and the signing of Suarez from the Blaugrana has proved a masterstroke.

The Uruguayan's 17th LaLiga goal of the season was a delicious finish, and one of the positives Simeone might have pointed to.

Yet after losing to Madrid away from home earlier this season, Atletico appear to have a major problem with their city rivals.

It is now 10 successive LaLiga derbies without a win against Madrid for Simeone's side, who have drawn six of those games and been beaten in the other four.

At least this time they were the better side for a large part of the game, but Simeone must wait to overtake Luis Aragones as the coach with the most wins as Atletico boss. He remains on 308 – the same number former Spain boss Aragones achieved across four spells in charge.

"I am happy with the team's work until the 80th minute and it's a shame that we could not win a game that we wanted to win," Simeone said.

"From the negative side there is the draw in the last minutes on one of their two chances in the game and the positive side is the good game we played.

"We were well controlled, we played a good first half. In the second we started with the same tune, with chances to be able to close it out and we could not be forceful.

"We were playing a team with great footballers who always have this in the last minutes. We had more chances to win it than they did."

Related items

  • A-League: Maclaren scores five in astonishing 7-0 derby win A-League: Maclaren scores five in astonishing 7-0 derby win

    Jamie Maclaren scored five times as Melbourne City thrashed 10-man Melbourne Victory 7-0 in an astonishing derby match.

    City moved top of the A-League on Saturday with a Melbourne derby victory that will live long in the memory.

    Andrew Nabbout had given the hosts an early lead but there were no signs an extraordinary contest was on the cards until a 30th-minute red card for Victory captain Adama Traore for a foul on the goalscorer.

    Nabbout won a penalty shortly after the red card which was converted by Maclaren and it stayed 2-0 until the 64th minute.

    That was when the floodgates opened.

    Substitute Marco Tilio set up Maclaren for the third goal before winning a penalty that the striker converted to bring up a hat-trick with 15 minutes left to play.

    The lead remained at four until a remarkable spree saw City score three times in the space of 178 seconds from the 84th minute.

    Maclaren scored two of them before Adrian Luna finished the rout in style, leaving the Victory players dumbfounded.

    Tilio ended the night with two assists while Luna had a game-high four key passes, with Victory mustering only one shot on target compared to 10 for the hosts.

    City had beaten their rivals Victory 6-0 in the first derby of the season, with this match capping a remarkable double.

    In the first game of the day, Western United defeated Central Coast Mariners 1-0 in Tasmania.

    A fifth-minute goal from Connor Pain – after a one-two with Besart Berisha – proved to be the only goal.

    Central Coast have now fallen to one point behind Melbourne City at the top of the table.

  • Pogba: Playing with Fernandes at Man Utd is a joy Pogba: Playing with Fernandes at Man Utd is a joy

    Paul Pogba says it is "a joy" to play with Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United.

    The World Cup winner has made an impressive return from injury in the past five weeks, scoring in the win over Milan and registering assists against Brighton and Hove Albion, Tottenham and Granada.

    Playing alongside Fernandes for United has been a particular thrill for Pogba since the Portugal international joined him at Old Trafford last year.

    Pogba says Fernandes can do everything and is delighted with how their understanding has developed on the pitch.

    "I enjoy playing with Bruno," Pogba said to MUTV. "He is someone who understands the game and understands the movement that can give you a beautiful pass.

    "He can finish too. He is all over the place, he can do everything really... except defending!

    "But really, it is always a joy to play him, to understand him. 

    "He understands me as well, he can take my position, I can take his position as well. I think he suits the team, he is a very dominant influence in our team."

    No United midfielder has played more times in all competitions than Fernandes since the former Sporting CP playmaker made his debut, with the 26-year-old making 71 appearances. 

    Pogba (48) ranks fourth on that list, behind Fred and Scott McTominay (both 58), while he has only started 34 times, mainly due to injuries.

    While he may no longer be the main man at United, Pogba was asked about his role in keeping up the dressing room morale and his dancing skills.

    Ahead of the Premier League match at home to Burnley on Sunday, Pogba said: "I'm just myself with the guys and if it can help them to be relaxed and be happy and have a good performance, then I will keep doing it obviously.

    "It is important to have a group that gel well together because football is teamwork and you have to be with everyone, you have to be connected, that is how you win.

    "When you are connected like this, it is easier to win."

    Asked if he or defender Eric Bailly had the best dance moves, Pogba replied: "It depends - Eric is the best African dancer, I'm more e-pop and American dance and stuff like this. 

    "We complete each other I will say!"

    Pogba and Fernandes are both expected to start against Burnley, against whom the France star scored the winner in a 1-0 victory at Turf Moor the last time the two teams met in January.

    United are therefore looking to complete their first league double over Burnley since the 1975-76 campaign.

    They are also bidding to win five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since they won their first six under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in January 2019.

  • Dodgers roll on as Padres showdown lives up to the hype in Tatis' return Dodgers roll on as Padres showdown lives up to the hype in Tatis' return

    The Los Angeles Dodgers outlasted the San Diego Padres 11-6 after 12 innings in an enthralling MLB showdown between the National League West rivals.

    Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr returned from a shoulder injury to face World Series champions the Dodgers in the series opener and he hit a home run in the fifth inning – a 410-foot bomb – to mark his comeback on Friday.

    The Padres tied the game in the bottom of the ninth after Eric Hosmer's single allowed Manny Machado to score in San Diego.

    Tensions threatened to boil over after benches cleared in the 10th when Dodgers pitcher Dennis Santana struck Jorge Mateo.

    San Diego and Los Angeles could not be separated until Corey Seager's two-run homer sparked a Dodgers onslaught in the top of the 12th inning, which finished with five runs.

    The red-hot Dodgers extended their winning streak to seven games, while improving to an MLB-best 12-2.

     

    Reds stay hot

    The Cincinnati Reds eased past the Cleveland Indians 10-3. Cincinnati are now 6-1 at home this season with 67 runs scored (9.6 per game). Per Stats Perform, it is the most runs by a team in their first seven home games of a season since the 1900 Boston Beaneaters (Braves franchise) had 71. The Reds' plus-38 run differential (67-29) at Great American Ball Park is the highest by any National League squad through seven home games since the 1894 Cleveland Spiders (plus-44).

    Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer surpassed Cy Young for the 22nd most strikeouts (2,807) of all-time. Three-time Cy Young Award winner Scherzer struck out the side in the seventh inning, finishing with 10 and 2,808 for his career. The Nationals edged the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0.

    Justin Upton smashed a grand slam as the Los Angeles Angels crushed the Minnesota Twins 10-3.

     

    Yankees continue to underwhelm

    The star-studded New York Yankees dropped to an American League (AL) East-worst 5-8 following an 8-2 loss to rivals the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees walked seven Rays batters, had just three hits, struck out 14 times and tallied three errors that led to three unearned runs. Yankees fans made their feelings known after throwing balls onto the field, which led to a stoppage.

     

    Schwarber lifts Nationals

    Kyle Schwarber's walk-off homer saw the Nationals beat the Diamondbacks. His 463-foot shot was Schwarber's first home run for Washington.

     

    Friday's results

    Atlanta Braves 5-2 Chicago Cubs
    Washington Nationals 1-0 Arizona Diamondbacks
    Philadelphia Phillies 9-2 St Louis Cardinals
    Tampa Bay Rays 8-2 New York Yankees
    Cincinnati Reds 10-3 Cleveland Indians
    Miami Marlins 4-1 San Francisco Giants
    Baltimore Orioles 5-2 Texas Rangers
    Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Milwaukee Brewers
    Los Angeles Angels 10-3 Minnesota Twins
    Oakland Athletics 3-0 Detroit Tigers
    Los Angeles Dodgers 11-6 San Diego Padres
    Seattle Mariners 6-5 Houston Astros
    Chicago White Sox-Boston Red Sox (postponed)
    Toronto Blue Jays-Kansas City Royals (postponed)
    New York Mets-Colorado Rockies (postponed)

     

    Blue Jays at Royals

    After Friday's game was postponed, the Toronto Blue Jays (6-7) and Kansas City Royals (7-4) will contest a doubleheader on Saturday. Steven Matz will start game one for the Blue Jays as the Royals counter with Mike Minor. Toronto's Tommy Milone will take to the mound in the game two, with Ervin Santana handed a Kansas City start.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.