Atletico Madrid came out on top against city rivals Real Madrid on Sunday, thanks to a lone penalty scored by Yannick Carrasco. It really should have been a more convincing victory, considering the fact that the newly-crowned La Liga Santander champions fielded their "B-team."

The much talked about "guard of honour" was not given to the champions at the Wanda Metropolitano, but both sets of players appeared to be focused only on the match. Carlo Ancelotti made numerous changes, clearly taking advantage of the fact that the title has already been sealed and the squad needs to prepare for their upcoming UEFA Champions League final.

Regular starters like Luka Modric, Vinicius Jr. and Karim Benzema were rested, while Ukrainian keeper Andriy Lunin took over between the sticks from Thibaut Courtois. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid had an entirely different approach to the match. While they are out of contention for the La Liga crown, they were desperate for points to secure fourth place and the coveted Champions League spot.

As expected, Atletico Madrid were the more dangerous side from the start, but they found it difficult to make a breakthrough until the 40th minute when Matheus Cunha fell easily in the box after a challenge by Jesus Vallejo. The referee allowed play to go on, but a delayed VAR check fuelled by protests from the stands eventually led to the penalty.

In the second half, while Atletico definitely showed more hunger, they still failed to extend their lead over the visitors. Antoine Griezmann and Carrasco both had chances, but they ended up settling for the lone goal which was enough to secure the much-needed three points.

Carlo Ancelotti was clearly not fighting as hard as he normally would for the win, leaving Benzema on the bench in the closing stages. Atletico were better on the night, but there is little to brag about playing against a second-string lineup and being 17 points behind the champions.

In the end, the target is on the Champions League, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla currently occupying the top three spots. Atletico are in fourth, six points away from Real Betis thanks to the derby victory.

Carlo Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid take on Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of the Champions League last 16 on Wednesday. AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO