Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone must have heaved a sigh of relief following the latest outing of the league leaders’ city rivals.
That after Real Madrid suffered a minor blow to its title hopes, after securing only a point in a 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad on Tuesday, March 2, at the Alfredo Di Stefano Stadium in Madrid.
The latest result secures Atletico in first place of the league standing with 58 points and a game in hand, five points ahead of Barcelona and Real, which are tied with 53 points apiece at second and third spots, respectively.
Last Tuesday’s game is crucial as Atletico and Real are bound to meet this Sunday, March 7, in El Derbi, or the Madrid derby, at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium.
This also gives Atletico an opportunity to go for the jugular in its title hunt and, with a win, ensconces itself with a commanding eight point lead ahead of its nearest contenders.
But Simeone knows that is easier said than done.
In reality, Atletico has not won against the Los Blancos in their last nine encounters, drawing five matches and losing a whopping four.
Apparently, Real Madrid manager Zinadine Zidane possesses a talisman that works well against its city rivals.
A draw against Real, therefore, won’t be all that bad for Atletico, but a loss would be a disaster for Simeone’s side as it would narrow the gap between the two clubs to two points.
Also, much pressure would be thrown in the path of the league’s second top scorer, Luis Suarez, who has not hit the back of the net in Atletico’s last five matches.
Whichever way it goes, El Derbi Madrileño, the “other derby,” this Sunday will be an epic clash between two Spanish titans.