The afternoon started with a gust of sleet over Madrid and a cold that no one took off. The picture only worsened for the local parish, frozen by an Atlético with ten. “It’s not a goodbye to the League,” said Carlo Ancelotti despite the fact that a Barça victory in Almería this Sunday would leave him 10 points.
Courtois, Nacho (Álvaro Rodríguez, min. 77), Dani Carvajal (Lucas Vázquez, min. 83), Rüdiger, Eder Militao, Dani Ceballos (Modric, min. 63), Federico Valverde, Kroos (Camavinga, min. 63), Marco Asensio (Aurelien Tchouameni, min. 63), Benzema and Vinicius Junior
Oblak, Mario Hermoso, Nahuel Molina, Reinildo Mandava (Giménez, min. 22), Savic, Saúl (Morata, min. 76), Carrasco, Pablo Barrios Rivas (Correa, min. 45), Koke (Witsel, min. 76) , Marcos Llorente (Lemar, min. 57) and Griezmann
goals 0-1 min. 78: Gimenez. 1-1 min. 84: Alvaro Rodriguez.
Referee Jesus Gil Manzano
yellow cards Eder Militao (min. 6), Koke (min. 22), Marcos Llorente (min. 35), Nacho (min. 56), Nahuel Molina (min. 70) and Modric (min. 90)
red cards Strap (min. 64)
At the Bernabéu, there was only fire when youth squad player Álvaro Rodríguez (18 years old) appeared, Merengue relief when he grabbed the pole and made it 1-1. The kid doesn’t need much to be noticed. He adds 38 minutes in three times against Cacereño, Osasuna and Atlético, a goal and an assist. A week ago, in Pamplona, less than 10 was enough for him to give a goal pass and, against the rojiblancos, he was the only one capable of scratching a Simeone troop in inferiority. Hazard and Mariano were also on the bench, but they both took root in the locker room catacombs a long time ago. The Belgian has not played in the league since September and after the World Cup he has only been seen against Cacereño.
Mariano was still the desperate resource until a week ago. For example, he came out in Mallorca with 1-0 against. Two balls fell to him and two he sent very far. But, at El Sadar, Ancelotti finally took the step of giving the quarry a bit of a reel at delicate moments. Tall (1.93), powerful, Álvaro deployed well with his feet in Pamplona and this Saturday he hit a header.
“He’s formidable with his head and he handles the ball well,” said the Italian coach this Saturday, who said that the U-20 international with Uruguay (born in Palamós, Girona) will be in the first team next season, and that this He will finish it halfway between the Bernabéu and the team led by Raúl González. At 18 years and 226 days old, against Atlético, he became the third youngest Madrid player to score in the league in the 21st century, after Vinícius (18 years and 114 days, against Valladolid in 2018) and Varane (18 years and 114 days). 152 days, against Rayo in 2011), and the youngest to do so in a derby with the rojiblancos in this period.
“We lacked mental freshness”
His fire contrasted with the winter of Karim Benzema, who also did not finish fighting in 2023. At Anfield, it was Vinicius who did the job that elevated the Frenchman last season in the sequence of miraculous comebacks. He nine He scored two goals, the fourth and the fifth, but the one who pushed the switch up was the Brazilian. And neither before Atlético did the Frenchman’s pulse pick up. “It was a difficult game for him. Mental freshness was lacking up front and he suffered from that”, Ancelotti analyzed. He has not scored a goal from a play in the domestic tournament for a month, in San Mamés. Since then, he has only punished Elche in the championship with two good penalties, although Carletto’s assessment of this start of the year was.
The afternoon soon put him under the spotlight. With a white team to tran tran, the Frenchman fell two as soon as he started, but his shots were defective. The first was ended by claiming Ceballos, who came from behind, and the second was sent high. At the beginning of the second half, Vinicius overflowed, looked for him behind, but the ball did not find him. And with 1-1 he left a shiver from the front. Without rhythm due to his continuous physical breaks, it is difficult for him to be a clinician in the area and outside of it, he does not tip the scales with his classic associations either. According to Opta’s statistics, he was the one who intervened the least on his team (29 times; Vinicius, 69 and Asensio, 57) and the one who made the fewest passes (20). He finished off four times, but only one goal.
In the midst of the burden, Álvaro Rodríguez appeared by his side and found comfort. “We lacked a bit of freshness, more mental than physical. They marked us with one more and we lost 10 minutes in repositioning ourselves”, lamented Ancelotti.
You can follow EL PAÍS Sports on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.