Suspensions can help break Madrid derby stasis after spiky first leg

It was the best of results, it was the worst of results. That was Carlo Ancelotti’s verdict on this tale of one city and two legs. The first ended 0-0; in eight days time, Madrid’s clubs will meet again for the eighth time this season, at the Santiago Bernabéu. Atlético remain unbeaten but the question was who will be better served by this result. As the dust settled here, the response was uncertain. Advantage who, exactly?Perhaps suspensions will help provide part of the answer. A handful of players walked a tightrope but only two fell, for now. Mario Suárez and Marcelo are both suspended. Should Uefa choose to act on Dani Carvajal punch upon Mario Mandzukic, Real may be without both full-backs. As for suspicion of anything even more untoward, Carvajal said: “I want to make it clear that I have not bitten anyone.” Neither Ancelotti nor Simeone were drawn into it, although a few hundred yards away Mario Suárez was complaining: “A Serbian can’t referee a game like this.

Mario Mandzukic

“Sorry,” Real’s manager offered, “I didn’t see it, so I really can’t say anything.” Simeone said he thought the clash between Sergio Ramos and Mandzukic that left the Croat with a bloodied face was unintentional. Asked after that about the later clash with Carvajal, his replies underlined the kind of bruising encounter it had been for the striker. “Which clash?”, he asked. Carvajal and Madzukic, he was told. “In the first half or the second?” he asked. The second half, he was told. “But Mandzukic on Carvajal? Or Carvajal on Mandzukic?” Carvajal on Mandzukic, he was told. “I didn’t see it,” he shot back, smiling as he delivered the punchline. But had he asked Mandzukic about it? “The language barrier makes that difficult,” he replied.And so, instead it was left for the two coaches to interpret the result and the way they had played. Simeone had said he wanted to win, which his team did not, but nor did they concede and the suspicion always lingered that he would settle for that. All the more so after Real had created chances, the best falling to Gareth Bale after just three minutes. When one question after the game began: “The most important thing for you was not to concede …” he did not contradict the assertion.