February 05, (THEWILL) – A last-gasp equaliser from Marcos Llorente rescued a 1-1 draw for Atletico Madrid against rivals Real Madrid in a captivating 236th Madrid Derby clash late on Sunday. The tense encounter saw fortunes swing in both directions, but Llorente’s 93rd-minute header clinched the visitors a share of the spoils at the death to prevent Real from extending their La Liga lead.
Injury blows had plagued Real’s preparations, and more bad luck struck when Vinicius Jr was forced out of the starting line-up during the warm-up. His misfortune allowed Brahim Diaz to come into the starting XI, and the substitute repaid this show of faith by putting Real ahead early on after capitalising on a fortuitous ricochet in the box.
Atletico responded brightly and carved out several headed chances from set pieces through Axel Witsel, Stefan Savic and Saul Niguez, but wayward finishing meant they initially failed to make their pressure count. Savic eventually appeared to draw the visitors level from a corner, only for VAR to disallow the goal for an offside infringement.
This reprieve galvanised Real as Brahim went close to doubling their advantage – his curled strike whistling narrowly wide in a major let-off for Diego Simeone’s resolute side. Antoine Griezmann tested home keeper Andriy Lunin late on as Atletico refused to relent, teeing up a frantic finale.
Just as a vital victory looked assured for Real, Llorente rose highest to power home a bouncing ball from close range in the third minute of added time. The late sucker punch ended Real’s chances of opening up a four-point cushion at the top.
About the Author
Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.