|First Division - Day 33|
Atlético Madrid 1 - Real Madrid 2
Sergio Aragoneses; Gaspar, García Calvo, Lequi, Sergi; Gabi
(Nikolaidis 46'), De los Santos; Aguilera (Novo 81'), Ibagaza (Jorge 60'),
Nano; Paunovic. 4-2-3-1.
Team changes: Atlético: Sergi, Gabi for Santi, Fernando Torres / Madrid: Pavón, Iván Helguera, Solari for Mejía, Guti, Ronaldo.
Real Madrid are back on top pending Valencia's game tomorrow after beating city rivals Atlético Madrid 1-2. It was a crunch match for both sides, the locals needing a victory to get back in to the UEFA spots and the visitors hoping to recover their form after a disastrous few days in which they had been knocked out of the Champions League and lost first place in the table. Both managers were missing their star strikers, Manzano using Paunovic as a makeshift number nine after the suspension of Fernando Torres was confirmed, and Queiroz replacing the injured Ronaldo with Solari, Raúl moving up to take the place of the Brazilian.
Solari it was though who struck first, catching Sergio Aragoneses off guard with a shot rather than the expected cross after Figo had put him away on the left. After that it was end to end stuff, Nano and Paunovic putting efforts just wide and Roberto Carlos and Figo both trying their luck for the visitors before the break. Manzano decided to bring on Nikolaidis at half time though, and it proved to be an excellent move when the Greek striker broke into the area and went down under Pavón's challenge, referee Moreno Delgado sending off the defender for a second yellow card and awarding a penalty which Paunovic converted.
Even with ten men though Madrid could have scored, Raúl heading wide from a quickly taken Solari free kick and Zidane through but unable to beat Aragoneses. However the best chances of the second half fell to the home side, substitute Jorge breaking free on a counter-attack but allowing himself to be closed down by Casillas, and Paunovic shooting into the side netting a few minutes later.
Then with twelve minutes to go the "Galacticos" got what was to be the winning goal under controversial circumstances following a Figo corner, Beckham heading the ball back in for Iván Helguera to score from close range. The Atlético players surrounded the referee claiming that Raúl had fouled the keeper and that Helguera was offside, but Moreno waved away their protests and pointed to the centre circle. After that the hosts pushed forward, and Nano could have saved a point if he had not shot wide in the last minute. But Madrid had won, and they are back in the race for the title.