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Last Updated Sunday January 21 2018 02:28 AM IST

Real title hopes fade after draw at Atletico

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Real title hopes fade after draw at Atletico Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in action during the La Liga match against Atletico Madrid Saturday. Reuters

Liga champions Real Madrid suffered another dent in their hopes of defending the title as they drew 0-0 at Atletico Madrid in the first local derby at the Wanda Metropolitano, an encounter high on intensity and passion but low on quality.

Atletico were gifted a glorious chance with the game less than three minutes old when Marcelo played a woeful back pass which invited the hosts to attack and the ball made its way to Angel Correa, who sliced his shot wide of goal with only Kiko Casilla to beat. Real's best moment came through a well worked move between Cristiano Ronaldo and Toni Kroos which led to the German flying into the box only to strike the wrong side of the near post.

The intense rivalry between the two neighbors could be felt throughout the game, with Correa booting a ball at Karim Benzema's face when the French striker was on the floor or when Stefan Savic cynically hauled down Kroos. Towards the end of the first half Lucas Hernandez kicked Sergio Ramos in the face as the captain tried to land a diving header, an incident which could have led to a Real penalty and saw Ramos taken off with a fractured nose.

Atletico substitute Kevin Gameiro was denied a goal in the second half when fellow Frenchman Raphael Varane leapt to head his chipped shot away just as it was about to cross the line, while down the other end goalkeeper Jan Oblak had to make two late saves to thwart Cristiano Ronaldo and Kroos.

The first goalless league Madrid derby since May 2005 leaves Real third in the standings, locked on 24 points with Atletico as both sides slipped 10 points behind leaders Barcelona, who beat Leganes 3-0. Second-placed Valencia can go six points ahead of the Madrid duo and four behind Barca if they beat Espanyol on Sunday.

Read more: Sports | Football | Arsenal overpower Tottenham in north London derby

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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