Madrid Derby: Athletico crushes Real….

Mario Mandzukic and Atletico Madrid players celebrate their fourth goal against Real Madrid

La Liga leaders Real Madrid suffered their heaviest defeat in over four years as reigning champions Atletico Madrid overpowered them in a scintillating derby, BBC reports. Injury-hit Real were forced to name a makeshift defence for the short trip to the Vicente Calderon – and it was easily exposed by Atletico’s ruthless attack. Quick-fire goals from Tiago and Saul Niguez put Atletico in command at the break, before second-half strikes from Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic sealed Real’s worst loss since a 5-0 mauling by arch-rivals Barcelona in November 2010. Atletico’s players jubilantly celebrated with their supporters at the final whistle after extending their unbeaten run against Real to a sixth game. And, perhaps more importantly, the win also reignited their hopes of retaining La Liga. Los Rojiblancos would have fallen 10 points behind their neighbours with a defeat, but instead moved level with second-placed Barcelona. Real still hold a four-point advantage over the pair, although Barca can cut that gap when they travel to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday. Los Merengues coach Carlo Ancelotti looked furious at the final whistle after a limp performance from the European champions, who only registered one shot on target. The Italian welcomed back Cristiano Ronaldo following a two-match suspension, but the Ballon d’Or winner barely figured as Atletico took advantage of an away defence missing injured centre-backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe, along with suspended left-back Marcelo. Atletico dominated from the first whistle and deservedly led when Portugal midfielder Tiago drilled in a low shot which Real keeper Iker Casillas failed to hold. Substitute Saul, an early replacement for the injured Koke, doubled the lead four minutes later with a spectacular overhead kick. Slack defending allowed France attacker Griezmann to poke in from close range after the break, before Croatia striker Mandzukic’s late diving header sealed a memorable win.

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