Even with Real Madrid fielding a reserve team, Atlético was unable to break its 14-year spell without a win over its almighty neighbour. Although it scored first, and very quickly, it let the game slip away once again at its own stadium. It will now finish third in the league, behind ‘Los Blancos’.

Atlético pushed hard from the off against an opposing side lacking Ronaldo, Ramos and Coentrao, who did not make the squad, and Varane, Xabi Alonso, Özil and Higuaín, all on the bench. The Reline-up featured Nacho and Morata, from the reserves, together with Carvalho, Albiol, Essien and Pepe in the midfield role.

Atlético’s eleven was as strong as it could be, without the Turk Arda Turan, who is still injured. Godín got on the end of Diego López’s parried save, with the ball heading towards the byline, and coolly clipped a cross onto the head of the waiting Radamel Falcao, who beat Diego López with just four minutes gone. It looked like a victory over Real was in the making, something unheard of since 30th October 1999.

But then Ángel Di María appeared. He lofted in a free-kick from the right. Pepe stretched out his leg as the ball hung in the air, but failed to make contact and Juanfran beat his own keeper with his hip on 12 minutes.

Atlético’s bad luck continued after the break. Ángel Di María broke through the opposing defence on 63 minutes to get on the end of a Karim Benzema pass and slotted the ball past Courtois and inside the far post. The score remained 2-1 until the final whistle, despite the concerted, yet toothless efforts of a side which will take on ‘Los Blancos’ again, though next time at full strength, on 17th May in the Copa del Rey final.