Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone refused to blame the Video Assistant Referee for their 3-1 derby defeat at home to Real Madrid.
VAR was at the heart of many key decisions in a fiery Madrid derby which saw nine yellow cards and Thomas Partey dismissed as Los Blancos recorded their first victory at the Wanda Metropolitano to leapfrog their city rivals into second place in the LaLiga table.
Casemiro scored a brilliant bicycle kick to break the deadlock for Real before Antoine Griezmann levelled with a calm finish, but only after VAR overturned the initial offside ruling.
Real lead at half-time thanks to Sergio Ramos’ penalty in the 43rd minute after Santiago Arias brought down Vinicius following another VAR ruling, despite initial contact looking to have occurred outside of the area.
Former Real striker Alvaro Morata thought he marked his home debut for Atleti with a second equaliser, but his brilliant finish was correctly denied by VAR for offside before the hosts had a strong penalty appeal turned down by the system.
However, Gareth Bale came off the bench to wrap up the points for the visitors with his 100th goal for Real. Partey then received his second yellow card with 10 minutes left to compound the defeat, but Simeone admitted the better side won.
“Atletico Madrid lost because of a convincing opponent,” he told Marca.
“I don’t usually speak about VAR and I believe it’s something that will surely get better and make things more efficient for all.
“I can’t see the replays like those working with VAR do, so I hope they were correct with the decisions.
“I definitely don’t think we lost because of VAR. The opposition were better than us and more convincing. They had a very good game.
“So we congratulate them and prepare for the next one.”
Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari hailed his side’s commitment and desire to secure their maiden win at the Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano.
“Football is played with all the members of the team,” Solari said.
“This team is fully committed to the shirt they wear, and they want to win every game and they are demonstrating that. They are competing very well.
“To get points at this stadium, against a very competent, very competitive and very strong team in all fields, but especially here at Wanda, the only way is doing a match like the one we did today.”
Ramos, who has yet to miss from the penalty spot for Los Blancos in eight attempts in all competitions this season, believes the title race is not over yet.
“Today, in general, I thought we played a really good game,” The Real captain added.
“The complete performance – from front to back and in attack and defence – we didn’t give them much space, didn’t give them any chances. It’s a good result.
“We have achieved our objective, we came here to win here and get back into second.
“We haven’t been there for a little while and to cut the gap on the leader (Barcelona). They have to play tomorrow, let’s see what happens.”
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