After just three minutes, Atletico had already scored the first goal against Real Madrid. After 20 minutes, Los Colchoneros were 2-0 up and the Metropolitano was thinking about a manita to stay in contention for the league title until the end.
Ancelotti took Real Madrid out of the derby before it even started with a revolutionary line-up that was nothing more than a strange mix of players in awkward positions. Modric and Kroos are Carletto's praetorian guard that he clings to when the fort has to be defended. But alongside them he put Camavinga, frustrated with the Croatian's proximity. There was Valverde, who is playing further and further back. And, to break the stability of the last few games, Joselu gave way to Bellingham alongside Rodrygo. A strange pairing.
Simeone had brought the game prepared from home. Real Madrid's line-up helped, but Lino and Molina had to overcome Fran García and Lucas Vázquez. And so it was. Balls to the back of the white full-backs and crosses in the hope that the centre-backs would not be too sharp.
Alaba and Rüdiger were a calamity in static defence. The Austrian ended up blaming Fran Garcia for the goals, and Ancelotti was incomprehensibly right to do so - incomprehensibly - and took off the home-grown player in the second half to make way for Mendy. Another strange player who doesn't fit in white.
Atlético put Savic, Giménez and Hermoso in the centre of defence, as well as putting Griezmann up front when Los Blancos were attacking. Simeone gave the ball to his opponents who were unable to create chances. Kroos pulled on his anger in the final minutes before the break and forced a 2-1 lead. Even Camavinga made it 2-2, but there was offside for Rüdiger who made wild surges forward that unsettled his own defence.
Three minutes into the second half Morata made it 3-1 and shattered Ancelotti's plans. Modric left his place to Joselu and opened the thunder box of the lack of squad that Los Blancos have for this season. Then came other changes that burst Real Madrid's seams with the introduction of Nacho, Mendy and Tchouaméni, three defensive players who seemed to have the job of preventing the fourth rather than looking for the second goal. Kroos's change for Brahim was a desperate one as Ancelotti watched Joselu fail to set foot in the box because Real Madrid failed to put in a decent cross.
For Atlético, the changes did not detract one iota from the quality of the team. Witsel, Azpilicueta, Depay and Correa made Atlético fly to Kepa's goal, who was expected to make some more high crosses in the three crosses that sealed the game for the red and whites.
The Metropolitano experienced one of those nights that Simeone demands for the stadium to be a red and white temple and not a cold football field in the outskirts of Madrid. Atlético can fight for more this season if they find the consistency they need.
Real Madrid are showing their shortcomings in attack without Vinicius and with a short squad they can't trust Bellingham with all the goals. Ancelotti will have to change his notebook and come up with something that works to avoid throwing away La Liga in January and landing in Brazil early.