Clinical Real take spoils in Madrid derby to continue perfect start

Soccer Football - LaLiga - Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid - Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain - September 18, 2022 Real Madrid's Federico Valverde celebrates scoring their second goal with Aurelien Tchouameni REUTERS/Violeta Santos Moura

MADRID (Reuters) -A clinical Real Madrid extended their perfect start to the LaLiga season when they beat city rivals Atletico 2-1 at the Metropolitano on Sunday.

Despite being second best for large periods of the first half, Carlo Ancelotti’s side were ruthless in front of goal as strikes from Rodrygo and Federico Valverde put them in a commanding position. Mario Hermoso pulled a goal back for the hosts late on but they were unable to find an equaliser.

Victory means Real return to the top of the LaLiga table on 18 points from six games, two ahead of Barcelona in second. Atletico are seventh, eight points behind their neighbours.

“You’re always very happy after winning the derby,” Ancelotti said.

“We managed to double our lead and then defend really well. Our gameplan was to be solid at the back and to play direct with the ball between the lines.

“That’s how we scored and we knew once we’d got 2-0 up that defending would be enough to get us over the line.”

The match, however, was marred by Atletico fans chanting racist abuse at Real’s Brazilian forward Vinicius Jr outside their Metropolitano Stadium ahead of the derby.

Diego Simeone’s side started brightly and went close through defender Felipe and Yannick Carrasco but found themselves behind when Rodrygo emphatically finished the visitors’ first attempt on target on 18 minutes.

It was a goal largely out of nothing, with Aurelien Tchouameni’s pass over the top catching the home side’s defence cold and allowing the Brazilian to fire home on the half-volley.

Antoine Griezmann forced a save from Real keeper Thibaut Courtois as the hosts looked to bounce back, but Madrid doubled their lead with their next effort on goal when Valverde fired in from close range after Vinicius’s shot had rebounded off the post.

Atletico set up a grandstand finish through substitute Hermoso’s header seven minutes from time following a rare mistake from Courtois who misjudged a cross, before the defender was sent off for a second bookable offence in injury time and Real held on to take the points.

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