Madrid derby ends in goalless draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Real Madrid and their local rivals Atletico Madrid played out a dour goalless draw at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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Real Madrid and their local rivals Atletico Madrid played out a dour goalless draw at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. The result had no influence on either side's position in the standings, with Real assured of second place behind Barcelona, and Atletico resigned to a mid-table finish with just one match remaining in the 2004/2005 season. Real Madrid played host to crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid in the late kick-off in Spain on Saturday. For the home side, merely pride was at stake as Barcelona had already claimed the La Liga title. For Atletico meanwhile their position in the top flight was assured as they stood 11th in the standings, but still too far down from a place in Europe next season. Before the action began, Real Madrid marked the retirement of former captain Fernando Hierro with the presentation of a commemorative shirt and the chance to take a ceremonial kickoff. That however appeared to be the only event of interest in the opening 45 minutes of this match, which was exceedingly poor. The only shots coming close to target came from Real Madrid, the first after 22 minutes when Zinedane Zidane shot wide. Moments later Roberto Carlos had his chance, but the shot was well saved. Zidane tried again midway through the half but once again the Frenchman was off-target when faced with a good opportunity to open the scoring. From the set pieces as well Real were struggling, as even Ronaldo failed to put real force behind the ball. Unsurprisingly it was goalless at the break. And the fans found little improvement in the entertainment in the second half. Atletico finally had their first clear cut chance however in the opening minutes after the restart, although the freekick was well saved by Casillas. While Roberto Carlos was again denied by some solid goalkeeping from Leo Franco. In the final five minutes Michael Owen became yet another Real player to waste a good opportunity to score. It was obviously not going to be the home side's night and at the final whistle it was goalless between the two Madrid sides. Real remain second in the standings, while Atletico are unmoved from 11th. (AP)