Diego Simeone and Zinedine Zidane shared their thoughts after Atletico and Real drew 0-0 in the Madrid derby in La Liga on Saturday.
The Wanda Metropolitano staged a tight game of few clear-cut chances, although Atletico keeper Jan Oblak made two fine saves and Gareth Bale missed a great opening for Real.
The result keeps Zidane’s men one point ahead of their city rivals – and promoted Granada – at the top of the table but Barcelona are now within striking distance after their 2-0 win at Getafe, their first away victory in any competition since April.
The Madrid derby on Saturday night ended in an anti-climatic goalless draw which saw Real Madrid keep top spot in La Liga.
The 0-0 result with Ateltico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano sees Real stay top by a point over promoted Granada.
Neither side were able to get the upper hand in a cagey encounter.
Toni Kroos was however a standout player in the game and here we take a closer look at his performance.
Passes (success-rate): 80 (93.8%)
Key passes: 3
Long passes: 13
Toni Kroos vs Atletico Madrid:— freeflow football (@freeflowblog) September 28, 2019
3 key passes
13/14 long balls completed
34/35 final 3rd passes completed
8 ball recoveries
2 shots on target
63% ground duels
4 fouls won
A complete performance at the Metropolitano! 🤩 pic.twitter.com/qRdt6TFmU5
Kroos started in midfield alongside Casemiro and Federico Valverde. The inclusion of the 21-year-old ahead of Luka Modric was perhaps a good move by Zinedine Zidane. A midfield that included both Kroos and Modric would likely be overrun by an energetic Atletico side.
Instead, the Germany international was the undisputed playmaker in the middle while Casemiro and Valverde were its more dogged occupants. That seemed to work well for Kroos who had one of his best games this season.
The 29-year-old even came close to scoring for Los Blancos. Twice towards the end of the first half he drew saves from Jan Oblak. First, a drilled effort with his left foot needed to be gathered at the second attempt by the Atleti custodian before a first-time curler needed to be pushed around the post.
GOT RIGHT – DICTATING PLAY
If there’s one thing you can say about Kroos with complete certainty it’s that he’s a phenomenal distributor of the ball. His range of passing is second to none and an unerring accuracy makes his operations in midfield seem almost mechanical.
The German bossed the middle of the park in possession, orchestrating Madrid’s build-up expertly. It comes as no surprise that he finished with a passing accuracy of 93.8 per cent or that he completed 13 of his 14 long passes.
He even mustered a couple of key passes having threatened the goal himself though he would’ve liked to have had more influence in the final third.
GOT WRONG – OFF THE BALL ACTION
For all his good work with the ball at his feet, Kroos is increasingly becoming a liability when Madrid don’t have possession. The midfielder has never been a ball-winner but his mobility seems to be in decline and that’s affecting his positioning.
Valverde offered more energy beside him in place of Modric but the youngster’s running around made Kroos look even more static. One tackle was the extent of his defensive contribution.
Kroos was one of the best players on the pitch but it’s frustrating that he wasn’t able to find a killer ball for one of his team-mates. That said, he did go close to scoring himself on a couple of occasions and no-one exercised more control in that midfield battle.
Sergio Ramos felt Real Madrid were hard done by in only leaving the Wanda Metropolitano with a point.
The first Madrid derby of the season ended goalless at the home of Atletico, keeping Real one point ahead of their neighbours at the top of the table.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium but Real had the best of them, with Gareth Bale missing the target and Jan Oblak making a fine save to keep out Karim Benzema’s header.
Defender Ramos said: “It was a very physical match. We knew this was one of the most difficult stadiums to play at all season.
“The goal was to get all three points but that wasn’t possible. But we didn’t concede a goal and we tried to create chances. Atletico Madrid is a team that closes its lines well, which means it is hard to create space and chances.
“We had a great chance with Karim’s effort and it was a fantastic save by Oblak. The point doesn’t seem like enough because in the end we were the ones trying to do more to get all three. It wasn’t to be but we need to continue on this way. We are still unbeaten and we need to keep working.”
Atletico coach Diego Simeone wants to see more from his side.
He said on atleticodemadrid.com: “It was a very hard-fought match. You could tell from the starting XIs that both teams wanted to defend well and break. We were the better side in the first half but were unable to score. In the second half, Oblak denied a Benzema header. We have to improve.”
Oblak added: “We earned a point. We wanted to win but couldn’t in the end. The game was evenly matched and the draw is fair. The fans were spectacular as always. We’ll try to improve in our next clash.”