Bergamo was the place where Atalanta faced Real Madrid in the Champions League’s Round of 16 first leg. We have tonight’s player ratings.
Real Madrid had an apparently impossible match against Atalanta in Bergamo tonight with all the odds against them. Zidane had 13 players from the first team available and the rest of them injured. Despite this evident disadvantage, the French manager decided to toss a coin to chance and attempt the impossible. Real Madrid is one of those clubs with Champions League pedigree that gives them that extra edge in this competition. This advantage manifested tonight with a little help from a nervous referee that made an early decision against Atalanta.
Ferland Mendy received a foul from Freuler, the last defender standing before the goalie. He received a direct red card from a chance that wasn’t very clear at all. After this decision, the ref got a lot more nervous and gave Casemiro a yellow card that prevented him from playing the return leg in Spain. This red card marked the rest of the 90 minutes with an overly defensive game.
Mendy scores a late winner.
Even during the second half, we saw a relatively balanced match with very few chances created on both ends. Gian Piero Gasperini also suffered bad fortune with Duvan Zapata and Ilicic falling injured. Everything was lining up for Real Madrid to get a surprising victory that eventually came. Ferland Mendy scored the winner with an outstanding long-range effort that turned Real Madrid into the only Spanish club that won during the Champions League return.
Zidane’s smile described the unexpected moment Los Blancos are going through right now. As the club goes through a complicated moment due to injuries, this victory sets them up for the quarterfinals quite nicely. By the time the return leg takes place in Spain, we will probably see most of the injured players returning to help the team.
Atalanta: Gollini (6), Toloi (6), Djimsiti (5), Gosens (7), Romero (7), Maehle (6), De Roon (6), Freuler (2), Pessina (6), Zapata (4), Muriel (5).
Bench: Pasalic (5), Ilicic (5), Malinovskyi (5), Palomino (5).
Real Madrid: Courtois (7), Mendy (8), Nacho (7), Varane (7), Lucas (6), Casemiro (7), Kroos (7), Modric (7), Vinicius (5), Isco (6), Asensio (5).
Bench: Mariano (6), Arribas (6), Duro (6).
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