Real struggles spice up Madrid derby

MADRID. — Diego Simeone described Atletico Madrid’s sluggish start to the Spanish La Liga soccer season as a wake-up call, but it was Real Madrid’s nightmare in Seville that threw a whole new complexion on today’s city derby.

Atletico were seven points adrift of the top of La Liga after drawing to Eibar two weeks ago, and it was not out of the question their rivals were loading up for a knock-out blow at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend.

“Atleti” were staring at the possibility of a double-digit deficit which, even as early as October, would have been a big gap to close.

“This is a wake-up call,” Simeone said at the time. “It is the best thing that can happen to us.”

But after back-to-back wins Atletico come into today’s game just two points behind Barcelona, who top the table on goal difference, and Real – who drew away at Athletic Bilbao before being hammered 3-0 by Sevilla on Wednesday.

“We are getting used to winning again,” said Atletico’s Filipe Luis, while Angel Correa added: “This is the Atletico we want.”

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