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Cristiano Ronaldo saves Los Blancos as eye-popping Madrid derby ends all square

Mar 2, 2014, 12:51 PM EST

Ronaldo AP

Sometimes the best defense is a ton of offense.

In a match with plenty of excitement and a barrel full of heroes, Cristiano Ronaldo provided the final goal eight minutes before full-time to erase a home lead and give Real Madrid a share of the spoils.

Having missed a header he buries 99% of the time, the Ballon d’Or winner atoned by collecting a ball Gareth Bale couldn’t control and rifling past Thibaut Courtois for the leveler.

The end-to-end match featured 26 total shots, a number of which were sights to behold.

Karim Benzema put Real Madrid ahead after just three minutes, but Koke drew back level midway through the first half before a ridiculous strike by Gabi Fernandez from about 40 yards out gave the hosts the lead just before halftime.

It is a disappointing slip for Atletico Madrid, who would have gone above Barcelona and level with Real Madrid on points for the La Liga lead had they held onto the lead.  They do jump Barcelona, but just by the one point with the Catalans still to play this weekend.

End-to-end the entire time, it was almost too exciting of a match for some, as Atletico Madrid coach German Burgos was sent off in the second half for nearly eating the referee (or trying to, at least).

There were plenty of spectacular saves on both ends as well, with Courtois and Diego Lopez adding their name to the list of fireworks.

Atletico manager Diego Simeone received some criticism following the match, as he seemed to wait too long to use any substitutes as his lone change came in the 83rd minute after Ronaldo’s goal. His counterpart Carlo Ancelotti made all three of his substitutions before the 73rd minute to give his side the fresher legs.

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