France striker Benzema who missed two really good chances earlier in the game, cancelled out Luis Suarez first half goal
Atletico had the chance to effectively knock Real out of the title race but, like in the 2014 Champions League final, let in a late goal against their bitter city rivals which changed the whole picture.
From an eight-point lead on Real with a game in hand, which would have felt unassailable, to just five points and a sense of regret gnawing away at them.
Diego Simeone’s side’s performance implied their recent wobble is over, but they could not kill the game, and Benzema made them pay.
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone was asked about the title race after the game and this is what he said:
“It depends which way you look at it. In the negative, they equalised in the last minute, or the positive, that we played very well in general, that we absolutely controlled the first half, and dominated the second.
“It’s a long and difficult competition. I don’t know what people expected, that we were going to win it by 20 points? We know it is going to be difficult.”
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane was obviously the happier of the two Madrid managers with the result saying:
“It’s a point, we’re alive and we’re going to keep fighting.
“There’s still a long way to go in La Liga and a lot of points at stake, we’re going to fight until the end.
“Things can change quickly. We’re doing the right things, although we know we can improve and that’s what we’re going to do.
“We wanted to play better in the second half today because the first half wasn’t good. The attitude was very important to change things.”
Atletico still hold the advantage, sitting three points clear and with a game in hand on a Barcelona team who, to their credit, are finding form at the right time.
Simeone’s team still have to travel to Camp Nou before the campaign is out, while the result in April’s Clasico will also have a huge bearing on the final destination of the trophy.
But if the Rojiblancos, who last won La Liga in 2014, do not go on to lift they will look back on this weekend as when they let the title start to slip away.