Gareth Bale came off the bench to score his 100th Real Madrid goal and lift his side into second place in the Liga table with a 3-1 win over Atletico Madrid.
The result continues Real Madrid’s recent resurgence under Santiago Solari, with goals from Casemiro, Sergio Ramos and Bale giving the visitors the win, inflicting a first home league defeat on Atleti this season.
It took Real Madrid just 15 minutes to open the scoring, with Casemiro sending an overhead kick into the net after a header from Ramos. However, Atletico Madrid responded quickly when Antoine Griezmann put a finish through the legs of Thibaut Courtois, targeted by the home fans on his first visit to the Wanda Metropolitano.
A controversial penalty award gave Ramos the chance to put his side ahead once more from the spot and the Real Madrid captain obliged, finding the bottom left-hand corner of Jan Oblak’s net with a driven finish. No Panenka, this time.
Atleti thought they’d equalised again when Alvaro Morata lobbed Courtois to make it 2-2, but VAR was used to chalk off the goal due to offside. And Bale came off the bench to make sure of the result, with Thomas Partey shown a second yellow card late on to really finish off the hosts.
Nobody was surprised when the Real Madrid team sheet was published and there was no place for Bale in the starting lineup. The Welshman has struggled for form of late and so he had to make do with a place on the bench. When he did come on, though, an impression was made. Bale scored the goal (his 100th for Real Madrid) that killed the match, so will that now start a renaissance for the Welshman? Can he use this to build on?
There were a number of standout performers for Real Madrid. Karim Benzema, for one, continued his recent good run of form, giving the Atletico Madrid defence all sorts of problems. Sergio Ramos was the usual pantomime villain, but kept things tight at the back - and scored. But it was in midfield that this game was won. Toni Kroos was impressive, but Luka Modric shone brighter than anyone else. He was the key to the match.