Alvaro Rodriguez salvages draw for Real in Madrid derby

Carlo Ancelotti's team struggled against 10-man Atletico on Saturday

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Real Madrid's young striker Alvaro Rodriguez earned a late 1-1 draw for the champions in a tense derby clash against 10-man Atletico Madrid on Saturday in La Liga.

The point reduced league leaders Barcelona's advantage on Los Blancos to seven points, but gave the Catalans the chance to expand the gap to 10 on Sunday against Almeria.

Jose Gimenez had headed Atletico in front in the second half shortly after team-mate Angel Correa had been sent off for elbowing Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger.

However 18-year-old forward Rodriguez headed Madrid level on only his second league appearance for the club.

"I see (winning) the league as a very difficult task. It was before today's game and now it's got even tougher," Real manager Carlo Ancelotti told DAZN.

"Today we lacked a bit of mental freshness, more than physical. Especially when they were down to 10 men, we allowed them to score and struggled to reposition ourselves.

"In the first half we had good control but the intensity was not high. Then we didn't take advantage of the extra man we had."

The match started slowly on a freezing afternoon, with light snow falling on the Spanish capital and Real Madrid dominating play but unable to convert.

Atletico took the lead when Gimenez scored with a header from an Antoine Griezmann free kick in the 78th minute. The last time Atletico Madrid scored in a La Liga match at Santiago Bernabeu was in April 2018, when Griezmann scored in a 1-1 draw. That goal shook Real from their slumber.

On Saturday, 18-year-old forward Rodriguez levelled the match seven minutes later with a clever header in traffic from a Luka Modric corner.

"To rescue a point is better than losing but it's not the result we needed to keep fighting for the title," Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois told DAZN. "It's a result that leaves us with a bad taste in the mouth."

Updated: February 26, 2023, 9:25 AM