In the last two Derbi Madrileño (Madrid Derby), Atlético Madrid had gotten the better of Real Madrid, winning both games and doing so at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. A large reason for the wins was that the team coached by Diego Simeone did a fine job of forcing Real Madrid to play the game they wanted, which was a physical, compact game that would negate the advantage Real Madrid had in terms of technical skill and speed.
Wednesday night in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal, Real Madrid got back to basics and reminded Atlético Madrid who is top dog by winning 3-0 in a result that sees Real Madrid with one foot in the Copa del Rey final. While in the two previous games Real Madrid fell into the tactical trap set by Diego Simeone, Wednesday night’s game saw Real Madrid resisting getting caught up in the trap normally laid out by Atlético Madrid and the proof came in the final score.
In the past two games, Real Madrid allowed Atlético Madrid to force their attack to become narrow and as a result, they only attacked through the middle, negating the speed and technical advantage they enjoyed out on the wings. On Wednesday night, it was clear that the message that Carlo Ancelotti gave to his team was play wide and use their speed to their advantage, something which both Angel Di Maria and Jesé did. Both scored, did quite well and were successful in executing.
Aside from having their attack narrowed, Real Madrid were also unable to convert on the scoring chances they had in the previous two games against Atlético Madrid. On Wednesday night, Real Madrid not only did a better job of converting their scoring chances, but they also did a better job of attempting more shots on goal. While two of the three goals were aided by a deflection, the fact of the matter is that Real Madrid put themselves in position to benefit from those deflections by taking their chances to hold what looks set to be an insurmountable result for the return leg at the Vincente Calderon.