Griezmann leaves it late to dent Real Madrid's title tilt

By Rik Sharma
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Football Soccer - Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - Spanish La Liga Santander

Football Soccer - Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - Spanish La Liga Santander - Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Madrid, Spain - 8/04/17 - Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann (C) celebrates a goal with his teammates Angel Correa (L) and Filipe Luis. REUTERS/Juan Medina

By Rik Sharma

MADRID (Reuters) - Real Madrid's title hopes were dented as Antoine Griezmann grabbed an 85th-minute equaliser for city rivals Atletico Madrid in a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu on Saturday.

Pepe opened the scoring for Real with a looping header in the 52nd minute and it looked like the hosts would earn the victory that would have moved them five clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

But Griezmann's equaliser ensured that the gap remained three points with Barcelona having the chance to go back top on goal difference with victory at Malaga later on Saturday, although they have played a game more than Real.

Fernando Torres had missed a one-on-one chance for Atletico as they sought their equaliser but they eventually grabbed the point when substitute Angel Correa put in Griezmann with a sharp pass and the Frenchman finished expertly.

The first half had been a tense affair, with both teams playing patiently and carving out a couple of opportunities to take the lead.

Saul Niguez had the first chance, heading Koke's free kickinches wide, before Yannick Carrasco crossed for Griezmann, who hit the post only to be ruled offside.

At the other end, Atletico goalkeeper Oblak made a good save to deny Cristiano Ronaldo at his near post, then a brilliant one to keep out a fierce Karim Benzema strike.

He was eventually beaten by Ronaldo after Luka Modric won the ball back and played him in, but a stunning headed clearance off the line from Stefan Savic kept the score level.

Griezmann had another chance after Sergio Ramos blundered by passing the ball straight to him, but his strike was tipped wide by Keylor Navas.

Ronaldo headed wide and Oblak made another terrific save to deny Benzema early in the second half, before Pepe opened the scoring in the 52nd minute.

Saul conceded a free kick for handball and Toni Kroos whipped it in from the right, with Pepe's header looping beyond the Slovenian stopper and into the net.

Torres should have equalised when sent through one-on-one with Navas, but Madrid's goalkeeper rushed out to deny him, before Griezmann's late intervention earned third-placed Atletico a point.

(Editing by Toby Davis and Ian Chadband)