The throne is not theirs yet - Griezmann & Atletico expose Madrid's defensive deficiencies once again

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Zinedine Zidane's side looked comfortable enough but let it slip late on and their inability to keep a clean sheet could prove costly in La Liga


"The throne is ours!" So read a banner raised by Real Madrid fans ahead of the derby against Atletico on Saturday. It referred to their supremacy in the city, of course, and the two Champions League wins over their local rivals in the past three seasons. But in La Liga, it has been a different story.

Griezmann goal denies slipshod Madrid

Between October 1999 and May 2013, Atletico did not win a single derby and at one point, Madrid supporters famously held up a sign which said: "Worthy rival wanted for decent derby."

Diego Simeone's arrival changed everything. The Argentine coach ended that sorry run by leading the Rojiblancos to a victory in the Copa del Rey final - at the Santiago Bernabeu of all places - over Madrid in 2013 and even though Real have edged out their rivals in the Champions League, Atletico have been an awkard adversary in La Liga.

In February last year, an Antoine Griezmann goal gave Atletico their third successive league win at the Bernabeu - something no other team in history had achieved. That loss remains the only home defeat for Zinedine Zidane so far as Madrid coach and it ended up costing his side La Liga in 2015-16 as they missed out by a single point to Barcelona

Mosaico Real Madrid Atlético

There was no defeat this time, but it felt like one for Madrid. After a fairly forgettable first half in which Cristiano Ronaldo came closest and Jan Oblak was the hero with some super saves, Madrid went ahead through a Pepe header early in the second period and looked fairly comfortable after that.

Zidane unsure over Madrid future

As so often with Madrid this term, the goal came from a set-piece - an area where Atletico were previously the masters. However, Real have now scored 25 times from dead-ball situations - more than any other Liga side - and, after this latest strike, the home side seemed to be cruising to a vital victory that would have seen them negotiate another key fixture in the race for the title.

But ultimately the team's contribution was insufficient at both ends. Madrid's failure to score from open play despite dominating for long periods, with Ronaldo and Karim Benzema both missing good opportunities and Gareth Bale virtually anonymous, was worrying for Zidane. Even more so perhaps, was his side's inability once again to keep a clean sheet even though Atletico created little of note over the 90 minutes.

That is now just two shutouts in 13 games in all competitions for Real and such a record always gives rivals a chance - especially a dogged and determined side such as Atletico. Madrid should have put this match to bed, either by scoring more or shutting up shop - and the fact that they could not raises real questions over their hopes of winning a major trophy at the end of this season.

Pepe Real Madrid Atletico Madrid La Liga

Antoine Griezmann Real Madrid Atletico Madrid La Liga

With Kevin Gameiro out injured, Fernando Torres toiling and little in the way of attacking alternatives from the bench for Simeone's side, it was a pass from Angel Correa that fed Griezmann with seven minutes left and the French forward beat Keylor Navas to silence the Bernabeu.

Isco: Madrid can win Liga & Champions League

The Argentine's ball between Dani Carvajal and Nacho caught Madrid out and it was a defensive lapse so common in recent times. Prone to switching off late in games, Real let Atletico back in this game and they have also let Barcelona back in the title race.

A win for Barca at Malaga later and it will be all square at the top of the table, and even though Madrid still have a game in hand due to their postponed match at Celta Vigo in February, there will be no more margin for error from now on and there is a Clasico clash still to come at the Bernabeu later this month.

So, despite their fans' bold claims before kick-off, the throne is not theirs yet. More dropped points against Atletico could end up depriving Los Blancos of the title yet again - and they had only themselves to blame this time.