The faces of the Real Madrid fans as they left the Bernabeu were one of disbelief. And of cold. And perhaps both were logical. The first because Real Madrid had not been able to score a goal in one of the best games of the season so far. Cold because, at that time, it was not more than one degree in the capital, because the stadium is still under construction and because Barça are already five points behind with their new technique of winning all their games by the minimum.
Ancelotti no longer fears his bench players. The transition of the squad is up to him and that forces him to give minutes to Ceballos, Rüdiger, Camavinga or Rodrygo. That's not counting Nacho, who is always a reliable player; Valverde, who is starting to find his best form or Militao, who is in a plethoric form that leads him to step on the opponent's area time and time again.
Facing them were Real Sociedad. A team who play the kind of football that would make Xavi Hernández fall in love with them. With a touch, having the ball and knowing what to do with it at every stage of the game. At no time did they avoid going for the game and that led them to take two corners in stoppage time when they could have kept the ball and wasted as much time as possible.
Real Madrid knew the type of team that came to the Bernabeu. They could not let any more points slip away after Barça's 1-0 win in Girona with another goal from Pedri. The white team came out to have the ball and move it quickly with the best version of Rodrygo, Benzema and Vinicius up top.
Kubo returned to the Bernabéu to prove to his former team that they were wrong to sell him. He is one of Real's best players, but he couldn't score a goal and almost ended up getting sent off after putting his studs on Courtois' chest in a split ball that resulted in a yellow card.
The stats say Real Madrid were better all round. More possession, more shots, more corners and even more offside. Real Sociedad were tougher, gave more fouls, hence the four yellow cards, but there was nothing to reproach Melero López for.
Remiro and Courtois had their work cut out. The Real keeper's one-on-one with Vinicius was the clearest chance for Los Blancos. The Brazilian defined well, with an overhead kick, but the goalkeeper didn't lie down and pulled out a saving hand.
The players finished the game exhausted. It was a battle. Nobody remembered the extra time of the derby. The one that Real Madrid never wanted to play.
But the goal didn't come and Barça are already five points behind Real Madrid, who see how that physical slump from before and after the World Cup means they now have to row if they want the Catalan club not to go down in La Liga.
The best thing is that Ancelotti has a large squad, he is counting on them and they are all involved in making the end of the season look like last season.