Jose Mourinho has maintained his perfect record at the Bernabeu, and Mesut Oezil's late goal leaves los Blancos looking good in the Copa del Rey.
The visitors made a perfect start to the game, taking the lead within seven minutes of play. A lovely through pass from Jose Antonio Reyes picked out Sergio Aguero, who was allowed to sprint in on goal despite being in a marginally offside position.
The Argentine prodded the ball round Iker Casillas and was tumbled by the goalkeeper in the process, but Diego Forlan closed in to score a simple tap-in, saving the home player from a likely red card.
Los Blancos are not a side used to losing, and their response was imperious. After Cristiano Ronaldo had twice gone close with long range efforts, Sergio Ramos rose highest to thump a header from a corner kick above David de Gea and into the net.
On the hour mark, the home side took a deserved lead. Mesut Oezil clipped a lovely angled cross into the box, which was met decisively by the sliding Ronaldo at the back post.
Only 30 seconds from time, Oezil fired Jose Mourinho’s men clear. An ugly ricochet in the heart of the Atleti defense dropped perfectly for the German, who slid an easy finish into the corner of the goal.
The match was played at a high octane pace from the outset, but it was los Merengues who were the dominant side in what was an extremely open and entertaining fixture.
Prior to the Bernabeu being silenced by Forlan’s opening goal, Ronaldo and Oezil would both threaten, and this was a theme that would continue for the duration of the opening period.
Afforded a great deal of room around the box, the hosts were a constant threat from range, though Ronaldo was luckless with his efforts, which were either deflected wide or pushed clear by De Gea, who punched one goal-bound drive brilliantly clear.
De Gea’s outstanding contribution in this encounter came midway through the first half. A powerful Ricardo Carvalho header appeared certain to find the bottom corner of the net, but the young Spaniard was sharply down to his right, turning the ball away in the process.
A rare slip from the goalkeeper following an Angel di Maria drive nearly allowed Karim Benzema a simple tap-in, but Filipe slid in to avert the danger in a moment that was typical of Atleti’s determined but rather haphazard defensive approach.
Against the flow of play, it was los Colchoneros who threatened first after the restart. Debutant Juanfran set up a chance for Aguero, but from a tight angle the striker’s shot was kicked clear by Casillas.
Atleti went closer moments later. A superb long diagonal pass from Reyes released Aguero, who wrestled clear of Ramos but was to be thwarted again by the feet of Casillas. Forlan nearly turned in the rebound, but he could only turn the awkward bouncing ball against the post.
Some momentum was being built up by the visiting side, but this was totally alleviated by Ronaldo’s strike. Los Blancos showed a desire to kill the tie off. There was one crazy scramble that had visiting hearts fluttering, and Ronaldo slid a toe-poke dribbled wide after the attacker had shown impressive strength to shrug off a couple of challenges.
Oezil’s last gasp strike gives Jose Mourinho’s men what would appear to be a comfortable advantage going into the second leg. Had los Colchoneros kept the margin to a solitary goal, they would have approached the Vicente Calderon tie with confidence. Now their task is not impossible, but it is monumental.
Follow Goal.com on to get the latest soccer news directly. Check out Goal.com's page; be part of the best soccer fan community in the world!