Karim Benzema salvaged a draw for Real Madrid with two minutes to spare keeping his team in the title race, just, after Luis Suarez had given La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid the league.
The two number nines did their job and for most of the game Suarez got more support from his team-mates than Benzema received from his but Atletico let Madrid off at the end and the 1-1 leaves Spain’s three-team race for the title still wide open.
Atletico’s opener came on the quarter-hour and it was a sweeping move that started with Kieran Trippier and ended with Suarez. The England right-back played the ball forward to Marcos Llorente and as Nacho dived in he got to the ball first and sprinted clear.
Karim Benzema was on-hand to bag a late equaliser for Real Madrid, rescuing a point against city rivals Atletico on Sunday
Luis Suarez had struck 15 minutes into the game to give Atletico the lead, curling around Thibaut Courtois will a special strike
The result gives Barcelona a title race lifeline, with both Madrid sides faltering having breezed ahead earlier this season
With Nacho out of position it was left to Casemiro to drop in and help Raphael Varane deal with Suarez. The Uruguayan timed his run behind Varane perfectly and then with the outside of his right boot bent his shot past Thibaut Courtois and into the far corner.
It was his 17th goal of the season, the 17th reminder that Barcelona should probably have tried harder to stop him going to their title rivals. It was also Llorente’s eighth assist of the season. This is the player Zinedine Zidane dismissed as an expendable holding midfielder and Diego Simeone has unleashed as an unstoppable attacking force.
His pace had got him to Trippier’s pass before Nacho and the pass to Suarez was perfect. The Uruguayan had ended his run of five games without a goal and scored his 12th goal against Real Madrid.
He also laid off intelligently for Thomas Lemar who wasted the chance. And he crossed just too long for Yannick Carrasco at the back post as Atletico tried to make the most of Real Madrid’s slow start. The visitors were as flat as the ball referee Jose Hernandez Hernandez asked to be changed midway through the first period.
Suarez was played in by Real academy graduate Marcos Llorente and curled around Courtois with the outside of his boot
Real started the game slowly and Diego Simeone’s wily Atletico side pounced for the opener at the Wanda Metropolitano
Suarez has been one of the driving forces in Atletico’s title push after joining from Barcelona on a free transfer last summer
Real Madrid did wake up just before half time. Casemiro went close with a long shot that Jan Oblak had to bat away to safety. And there were shouts for a penalty when the ball brushed the side of Felipe’s arm as he came down to ground attempting to head it clear.
The Video Asssitant Referee clearly thought it was a penalty but Hernandez disagreed when he trotted across to the pitchside monitor to review it. The players were still arguing about it as they went down the tunnel at half-time at 1-0 .
Atletico started the second half strongly and Courtois had to save from Carrasco after he played a one-two with Suarez down the left. The ball came out to Llorente but he put it over the top.
Courtois saved them again moments later when Lemar slipped in Carrasco and he pulled the ball back to Suarez. Courtois saved the shot and scooped the loose ball up before the forward could turn it in.
Kieran Trippier was superb once more in taking-on the Real Madrid offensive out-wide, as the hosts held their rivals at bay
Benzema went close with a host of shots as Real fought back against their city rivals, having to wait until the final minutes
Simeone was on edge watching as Real battled back into the game after the hosts went ahead early through Suarez’s goal
Angel Correa then mis-kicked with time and space inside the area after Trippier’s cross had been headed down by Carrasco.
Vinicius was on now – a new test for Trippier who had been outstanding on his comeback after the 10-week Football Association ban.
Varane was still having trouble with Suarez and he was yellow carded for chopping him down deep in the Atletico half.
Fede Valverde was on for the disappointing Marco Asensio and he tested Obak with a long shot. No one in a white shirt chased down the rebound.
With 10 minutes left Real Madrid found another gear from somewhere and Oblak had to save three times inside two minutes. First came a brilliant double save from Karim Benzema. He then kept out a free-kick from the same player.
Benzema only had to make a tap-in after dancing through the Atletico defence, laying off to Casemiro before getting it back
All three points against Real could have been a key victory in Atletico’s bid for their first title since their triumph in 2013
The nerves were now all Simeone’s – Atletico had dominated but not added to their lead and Real Madrid sensed their chance. Benzema swapped passes with Casemiro inside the area and the Frenchman levelled with two minutes left.
It could have been worse for Atletico but Luka Modric tried to score a free-kick from the edge of the area with the outside of his right foot. It would have been Madrid’s goal of the season, as it was it was a waste of their last chance.
On the final whistle Atletico did not celebrate. It was two points dropped at home after all. But they are still three points clear of second placed Barcelona and five ahead of Real Madrid. La Liga remains theirs to lose.