Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid draw a European blank in the Champions League

Arda Turan Atletico

After a battle at the Calderon ended without goals, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid now have it all to do, in the second-leg at the Bernabeu.

Amidst the din of noise in the Vicente Calderon cauldron, the ingredients were all prepared for a classic encounter between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid. However, it was more of a gritty battle between two determined city rivals, than an exhibition of the finer points of the two sides.

Real Madrid grasped the nettle quickest and dominated in the opening stages. Gareth Bale having the clearest of the early chances for the visitors, but after bursting clean through and looking destined to score, he couldn't lift his finish over the outstretched arm of Oblak.

The Atletico 'keeper proved the main protagonist for his side, as they failed to make any inroads on the counter, with Real Madrid continuing to threaten. Just beyond the half-hour, another good chance for Bale. This time a dipping low drive that skimmed the turf, but again, Oblak reacted well to push the ball away. James next to test the Slovenian stopper, but once more his hands were solid.

Griezmann came closest for Atletico with after the Real Madrid defence failed to clear a long-ball forward. The Frenchman gathering the ball well, but not striking with enough power to find a way past Casillas.

Real Madrid kept attacking, whilst Atletico kept swarming around the visiting forwards like angry bees. Before the first-half ended, Modric was presented with a good opportunity to shoot, just outside the area. The Croatian didn't think twice as the ball dropped, striking cleanly, but just a fraction over the crossbar.

The second-half commenced with the same high level of intensity, but with Atletico now creating most of the threats, Juanfran sending in a dangerous ball for Arda Turan to head just wide, within the opening moments of the restart.

After what looked to be an elbow to the face from Varane, which left Atletico striker Mandzukic with blood streaming down his face, the Croatian was furious with the referee, who awarded no penalty. Just to rub salt into his wounds, after returning to the pitch following his treatment on the touchline, Mandzukic was the first to be yellow carded. Not without some irony, it was for having his arms raised in an aerial duel.

Reaching the hour mark, Real Madrid were pushing back and Kroos came close. Otherwise though, the game was still a pitched battle for possession, the friction growing between the two sets of players, eager to find that all-important opener. Atletico were still able to get a boot, a knee, or a head, in the way of the attempts the 'BBC' trio were managing to muster.

With more stoppages and whistles from the referee, than flowing football, the respective managers began shuffling their options around. Isco on for Benzema first for Real Madrid, followed by Raul Garcia replacing Griezmann for Atletico.

Tempers continued to fray as the tensions rose, heading into the final ten minutes. Raul Garcia earning an immediate yellow, along with Sergio Ramos, as the pair shared a heated exchange. By the time Fernando Torres entered for Koke, it was Atletico doing much of the pressing forward. A quick break forward, then a corner, almost saw Modric find the back of the net, but his snatched effort from just inside the area, whizzed over the crossbar.

Fernando Torres wanted a penalty, after Ramos blocked his path to goal, but the Serbian referee wasn't interested in any theatrics. Casillas then managed to push away an overhead kick from Mario Suarez, inside the final minute.

The tie remains wide open, with Real Madrid perhaps the happier of the two sides, even though they couldn't grab an away goal. That's what Atletico Madrid will be looking for, when the two rivals clash again at the Bernabeu, in the second leg.

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Real Madrid

Estadio Vicente Calderon, Champions League quarter-final first-leg

Referee: Milorad Mazic (Serbia)

 

Atletico Madrid Starting XI:

Oblak; Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Siqueira; Arda Turan, Mario Suarez, Gabi, Koke (83'); Griezmann (77'), Mandzukic.

Substitutes:

Moya, Gamez, Gimenez, Tiago, Raul Garcia (77'), Saul Niguez, Fernando Torres (83').

Yellow Cards: Mandzukic (55'), Mario Suarez (85')

Real Madrid Starting XI:

Casillas; Carvajal (85'), Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric, James; Bale, Benzema (76'), Cristiano Ronaldo.

Substitutes:

Keylor Navas, Pepe, Khedira, Arbeloa (85'), Jesé, Isco (76'), Illarramendi.

Yellow Cards: Marcelo (89')

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