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Alvaro Morata scores twice as Atletico Madrid outclass Real Madrid with 3-1 derby win

MADRID – Alvaro Morata scored a brace to help Atletico Madrid deliver a statement performance as they outclassed city rivals Real Madrid in a 3-1 derby win in La Liga on Sunday, which Los Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti said was a result of “defensive fragility”.

Morata opened the scoring in the fourth minute in a sold-out Metropolitano stadium with a towering header from a Samuel Lino cross and Antoine Griezmann extended Atletico’s lead with another header in the 18th minute, from a Saul Niguez cross.

Real’s Toni Kroos struck home from the edge of the box in the 35th minute but Morata headed Atletico’s third goal in the first minute of the second half, from another cross by Saul.

Ancelotti told AS: “We didn’t start well or defend well. When they went 2-0 up, they played the game they wanted to. Atleti did better than us in this sense.

“I think the system was not a problem, but rather defensive fragility. We were not compact and they took advantage of it... I shoulder that, it’s my fault.”

With one game in hand, Atletico moved up to fifth place in the La Liga standings on 10 points, while Real Madrid, who entered the weekend as leaders, are now third on 15 points, one behind Barcelona and Girona.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico dominated proceedings for most of the match and spent the final minutes of the game passing the ball sideways to each other as their delirious fans chanted “Ole, ole, ole” in a thunderous show of support.

After Morata had scored the opener, his teammate Jose Maria Gimenez wasted a golden opportunity in the 10th minute, missing a close-range header from a corner kick sent in by Griezmann, who himself headed in the second goal eight minutes later.

Simeone told DAZN of Griezmann: “He has no difficulty in defending and playing the game that has to be and that’s why he’s one of our most important players. He’s a reference point for our young players.”

Midfielder Eduardo Camavinga had Real’s first chance in the 30th minute, with a curling shot from range that was deflected out for a corner.

Goalkeeper Jan Oblak denied a Federico Valverde first-touch strike from the corner and started off a quick counter-attack that almost ended with Atletico’s third, with goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga making a brilliant one-handed save from a Saul strike.

Real’s Kroos then made it 2-1 before Camavinga had a goal ruled out just before the break for offside in the build-up.

Real struggled to create any more chances after Morata's second goal in the opening moments of the second half.

“What I need is to feel important and this year, maybe I feel more important than in other years – I hope we keep winning because I really want to win a title with Atletico”, Morata told DAZN.

“I said the other day, the fans were going to play the most important role. That’s how it has been. It’s been an incredible atmosphere.” REUTERS