After a cagey Madrid derby earlier in the season ended up in a stalemate, the reverse fixture left much to be desired.
The second position was at stake, offering the two local rivals the chance to keep up with the pace set by FC Barcelona.
With Barça sitting at the summit of the league table, Saturday’s derby presented the two Madrid based clubs the prospect to affirm their status as true title contenders.
Unlike the last encounter between the two teams that failed to live up to expectations, this game was a blockbuster with end-to-end stuff.
Real Madrid headed to this game in a much better condition and form than their local rivals, Atletico Madrid.
Los Blancos amassed five wins in six games, with their only unwinnable match emanating from the El Clasico at Nou Camp in midweek.
The home team, Los Rojiblancos, needed to give a positive reaction after their shock stumble at Benito Villamarin against Real Betis in a game they lost 1-0.
With Madrid breathing down their neck in third-place, only trailing them by 2 points, a derby win would further increase the chasm between them and Real Madrid and put the host closer to league leaders Barça.
The opening exchanges in the derby saw both teams play at a very high tempo and intensity, with the home crowd creating a hostile environment for the visiting team.
Real Madrid seemed unperturbed by the animosity towards them at Wanda Metropolitano and were rather unruffled. Casemiro delivered a sumptuous scissor kick to put Madrid ahead only 16 minutes into the game.
The hosts, restless to find an immediate response, got one when wonder kid Vinicius Junior was robbed off the ball as Griezmann was put through on goal to slot home from a low drive to restore parity.
Sergio Ramos converted from 12-yards just three minutes before the break, to restore Real Madrid’s lead taking his personal league goal tally this campaign to six.
Los Blancos further stretched their lead to two after a clinical finish by substitute Gareth Bale in the second-half to hand the hosts their first ever league defeat at Wanda Metropolitano this season.
A derby as entertaining as it was, saw tempers flying high with both teams intending on outwitting the other.
The game produced an astonishing nine yellow-cards and a red-card shown to Ghanaian international, Thomas Partey, highlighting how both teams went into the derby in cold blood.
Another three points bagged convincingly by Solari’s men who have to deal with fixture congestions this intense month of February.
Real Madrid leapfrog Atletico to 2nd place, a point better than their local rivals who sit 3rd on the league table with 44 points.
Barça with a game in hand, are at the summit of the league with five more points than second-placed Real Madrid.
A win at San Mames for FC Barcelona would put them on course to yet another La Liga trophy as they seek to clinch their 26th league title come May.
BRIGHT N.B ANTWI