Atlético, who beat Real at the Bernabeu in May, went ahead after 11 minutes when Diego Costa finishing coolly for his eighth Liga goal of the season. This game could have been out of sight by half-time if Tiago and Costa had taken their channces.
At half-time, Carlo Ancelotti brought on Gareth Bale for his home debut, but the worlds most expensive player could not prevent a defeat which leaves Real Madrid five points behind Atletico and Barcelona.
Barcelona’s comfortable 2-0 victory at Almería was marred by another leg injury to Lionel Messi. The World’s best player, who had put Barca in front after 21 minutes, will undergo further tests on Sunday. Messi has to be a doubt for this week’s Champions League trip to Celtic, but more worrying for Barca fans is the frailty. Since getting injured last spring, I don’t think Messi has played 90 minutes in four consecutive games.
Adriano scored Barcelona’s second 11 minutes into the second half, and the result meant that Gerardo Martino became the first Barcelona coach to win his first seven league games.
The challenge for Carlo Ancelotti is that he is not chasing just Barcelona, but also Atletico, who are legitimate title contenders. So be five points back of both sides is reminiscent of Real Madrid’s slow start last season, which effectively cost them the title. Is history repeating itself?