Monday Feb 11, 2019 | By: AFP
MADRID: Thibaut Courtois overcame the jeers and Gareth Bale delivered a timely reminder of his talents as Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 3-1 in a feisty city derby on Saturday.
Real’s fifth league win in a row means they sit second for the first time since September, above Atletico, and just five points behind Barcelona. Bale had been left out of the starting line-up for the second time in four days, after he was also a substitute against the Catalans in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
The Welshman’s goal, his 100th for Real Madrid, was not lost on Solari, even if his celebration drew criticism, after he appeared to make an insulting gesture towards the Atletico fans.Bale’s finish ended their hopes of a comeback after Sergio Ramos’ penalty put Real in front at half-time, with Antoine Griezmann earlier cancelling out Casemiro’s acrobatic opener.
By the time Thomas Partey was sent off with 10 minutes left, the game was up, and Courtois could have been forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief at the final whistle. The Belgian, who spent three years at Atletico, was playing in the white of Real for the first time at the home of his former club.
He was whistled when he came out to warm-up and then before kick-off too, as the Atletico ultras behind the goal hurled dozens of toy rats towards his head. A sign read, ‘Thibaut - Rata’, just to underline the point.
Alvaro Morata had gone the opposite way, also via Chelsea, now for Atleti after starting out at Real Madrid. He was cheered and, despite a quiet game, would have scored but for VAR ruling out an impressive lob in the second half.
Griezmann equalised, sent through by Angel Correa, who was fortunate not to be penalised for a robust challenge on Vinicius. Griezmann, just onside, poked the ball through Courtois’ legs. Vinicius’ pace had been a constant thorn in Atleti’s side but Gimenez refused to be beaten, diving in from behind when he had little chance of getting the ball. The foul might have been outside the box but Ramos whipped the penalty into the corner.
Morata was celebrating a goal early in the second, only for his superb lob over Courtois to be ruled out by VAR for offside.