Madrid, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid played to an entertaining scoreless draw in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie on Tuesday at the Vicente Calderon.
Both clubs enter the quarterfinal stage of the competition having taken very similar routes to arrive at this point. Both sides topped their groups and received a scare in the round-of-16 against German opposition.
Real Madrid almost collapsed against Schalke in the second leg of the round- of-16, but hung on for a 5-4 aggregate win, while Atletico snuck past Bayer Leverkusen on penalty kicks.
It was Real Madrid that had the better of the play early on in the battle of last season's final combatants as the first good chance of the match came just six minutes in when Gareth Bale went in on goal with just the goalkeeper in front of him, but Atletico goalkeeper Jan Oblak came sliding out to block Bale's attempt.
The visitors had another excellent opportunity in the 36th minute when Bale let a dipping strike go from the top of the box, but Oblak was there, diving to his left to make the stop.
Moments later the Atletico goalkeeper was forced into another diving save, this time on Colombian World Cup star James Rodriguez, as Real Madrid piled up the scoring chances in the first half.
The home side, meanwhile, seemed content to sit back and try to hit on the counter-attack. Their best chance of the opening 45 minutes came in the 38th minute when Antoine Griezmann ripped one on target, but Iker Casillas easily handled it with a dive to his left.
Things got a bit physical as the clock struck 45 minutes and the clubs went into the intermission scoreless.
Atletico Madrid came out of the dressing room with more attacking intent and pushed the ball forward in the early stages of the second half, rather than sitting back and trying to counter-attack.
Both teams created more scoring opportunities and both managers went with attack-minded substitutions with 15 minutes to play as Real Madrid replaced Karim Benzema with Isco, while the hosts brought Raul Garcia off the bench for Griezmann.
Atletico manager Diego Simeone went with another attacking change in the 83rd minute as he replaced Koke with former Chelsea man Fernando Torres hoping to find a late winner.
Torres provided some thrills for the home fans when he worked his way into the penalty area and was ready to put one on frame, but he was blocked off expertly by Real defender Sergio Ramos and went to the ground, prompting shouts for a penalty from the home support.
The final few minutes were played almost exclusively in the Real Madrid half of the field, and the fourth official's board allotted three extra minutes for the hosts to capitalize on their momentum and find a winner, but Real's defense held out for a draw.
The cross-town rivals will meet for the second leg of the tie at the Bernabeu on April 22.
In Tuesday's other quarterfinal fixture, Juventus grabbed a 1-0 first leg victory over Ligue 1 Monaco at Juventus Stadium. The lone goal came three minutes prior to the hour mark when Arturo Vidal dispatched a penalty kick.
The clubs will meet for the second leg at the Stade Louis II on April 22.