In the derby on Saturday, Real Madrid beat LaLiga pacesetters Atletico Madrid 2-0 to close with the leaders within three points and cap a brilliant week.
Before his team scored at Sevilla last weekend, the pressure was increasing on Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane and then advanced in the Champions League by seeing off Borussia Monchengladbach.
Therefore the Spanish champions went into the clash in high spirits with Atleti and quickly built another lead through Casemiro’s header.
Atleti had won their previous seven LaLiga matches and this term was undefeated, but their record against Madrid is much less impressive and the unfortunate second-half goal of Jan Oblak guaranteed a ninth consecutive league meeting without victory with their neighbors.
From the outset, Madrid had the visitors on the back foot and only a crucial fingertip touch from Oblak denied Karim Benzema as he cracked the upright with a 20-yard run.
As Casemiro rose to the head of Toni Kroos’ corner inside the near post, the opener arrived soon enough, unimpeded following the slip of Hector Herrera’s marker, while the game slowed afterward.
For their first effort of note, Atleti had to wait until the 55th minute but had to draw level as Thomas Lemar ghosted in at the far post after Raphael Varane struggled to cut out a low cross, only to stab a tame effort into the side-netting.
When Dani Carvajal rifled in a low shot from outside the area and the ball bounced off the post, toward a prone Oblak and into the net, they were made to pay eight minutes later.
A comeback from the men of Diego Simeone still seemed unlikely and Thibaut Courtois saved well from the close-range header of Saul Niguez to allow Madrid to coast home, nearly netting a third as Oblak turned the blast of Lucas Vazquez over the top.