Real down Atleti in Madrid derby to pad lead


Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio scored as Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 at the Bernabeu on Sunday to move 13 points ahead of their local rivals in the LaLiga table.

Benzema struck in the 16th minute, volleying Vinicius Junior’s cross past Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak for his 13th league goal of the season.

The visitors improved after half-time before Asensio finished off a ruthless 57th minute counter-attack to confirm a tenth consecutive win for Real in all competitions.

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The result leaves Real Madrid in a dominant position at the top of LaLiga, eight points clear with 17 games played, after victories over fellow title contenders Sevilla, Real Sociedad and now Atletico in recent weeks.

Atletico started brightly, and Thibaut Courtois had early work to do when he smothered Marcos Llorente’s cross with Matheus Cunha — picked ahead of Luis Suarez in Atletico’s attack — waiting to pounce.

After that, Real Madrid began to take control. Eder Militao’s near-post header flew across the face of goal before Benzema, who has been LaLiga’s outstanding player so far this season, opened the scoring.

Atletico’s best opportunity came from Antoine Griezmann, whose free kick was saved by Courtois diving at full stretch, while at the other end Vinicius tested Oblak before half-time.

Both managers made changes at the break. Carlo Ancelotti withdrew goalscorer Benzema, replacing him with Luka Jovic, while Diego Simeone made a double substitution, introducing Joao Felix and Thomas Lemar for Griezmann and Yannick Carrasco.

The first chance of the second half fell to Asensio, who chose to turn into a crowd of Atletico defenders inside the box rather than getting a quick shot away.

Felix made an impact, forcing Courtois to save before playing in Cunha to do the same, before Atletico were undone on the counter.

Vinicius grabbed his second assist of the match, his final ball playing in Asensio to sweep clinically past Oblak.

Courtois saved well from Lemar with 15 minutes left, and Vinicius couldn’t get enough of a touch on Ferland Mendy’s dangerous cross, as Luka Modric ran the closing stages of the match from midfield.

Real’s 2-0 victory means Atletico have now gone 11 LaLiga derbies without a win, a run stretching back to 2016.

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