MADRID // Javier Aguirre, the Atletico Madrid coach, was devastated his team lost to rivals Real through an injury-time penalty. But his opposite number Bernd Schuster said the result was a reminder that Real never give up and can score right up to the dying seconds of a game. Gonzalo Higuain buried a spot kick just after Portugal winger Simao Sabrosa had grabbed an 89th-minute equaliser for Atletico with a free-kick.
And Aquirre said: "Simao's goal was just reward for our audacity after the break, but it is devastating to concede a goal in the first and 96th minutes." Atletico have not beaten Real since June 1999 and were trailing after only 40 seconds through a Ruud van Nistelrooy goal. The home side had defender Luis Perea sent off, and Van Nistelrooy followed him for another red card before the break. With both sides reduced to 10 men, Atletico pressed hard and looked to have grabbed a point before John Heitinga tripped Royston Drenthe in the area.
"We have proven many times that we are capable of scoring goals right up to the last minute," said Schuster, who went on to criticise the referee. "Van Nistelrooy's sending off was clearly a case of compensating the other side. It was because of the referee we didn't win 5-1." Real have now gone six matches unbeaten in the league, while Atletico have slumped to three defeats in a row. There appeared to be little on for Van Nistelrooy when he received the ball with his back to goal in the first minute, but he was given space to turn and surprised Leo Franco at his near post.
Wesley Sneijder then hit the bar and Sergio Aguero replied for the home side hitting the post soon after. The game was thrown open when Perea was red-carded after he caught Sneijder in the face with a flailing arm. But Van Nistelrooy soon followed after the referee harshly showed him a red for clumsily upending Maniche. * With agencies