Rodriguez saves Real Madrid from derby defeat at Bernabeu

MADRID: Alvaro Rodriguez rescued Real Madrid from embarrassment at home with a late equalizer yet 10-man Atletico Madrid handed a severe blow to the defending champions’ La Liga title hopes after a tense 1-1 draw on Saturday.

The shared points between the two Madrid clubs after the derby give Barcelona a chance to extend their lead to 10 points over Real Madrid when they face Almeria on Sunday.

Currently, the holders are second on the table with 52 points, seven behind leaders Barcelona. Atletico sit on fourth with 42 points.

Real Madrid dominated the opponent at the start on a freezing afternoon and light snow but the home team remained unable to convert their on-paper superiority into scoring opportunities.

Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior and Marco Asensio unleashed the attack up front but could not find a way to break the deadlock as Atletico held the fort with a five-man defence.

Atletico opened the scoring when defender Jose Maria Gimenez netted a header from an Antoine Griezmann free kick in the 78th minute.

Real sprung after the slump and levelled seven minutes later with a clever header from  18-year-old forward Rodriguez from Luka Modric’s corner.

In another fixture, Sergio Navarro scored a second-half winner to give Cadiz a sensational 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano.

Earlier Espanyol edged past Mallorca 2-1 thanks to a brace from Martin Braithwaite.

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