Ferland Mendy scored late on as Real Madrid beat 10-man Atalanta 1-0 in Bergamo on Wednesday to take the advantage in their Champions League round-of-16 tie.
Midfielder Remo Freuler was sent off by referee Tobias Stieler with just 17 minutes played for a foul on Mendy. Madrid found it difficult to capitalise in the first half, though, as Isco, Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior all shot off target. Their best chance came as Toni Kroos’ free kick found Casemiro, whose header was well saved by keeper Pierluigi Gollini.
After the break, Modric had a shot deflected wide and Vinicius fired over the bar from close range. Madrid continued to struggle to create clear-cut opportunities, before Mendy finally broke the deadlock with a long-range effort in the 87th minute.
Mendy’s late goal was a huge, huge relief. Flying home from Italy with a goalless draw, having faced 10 men for more than 70 minutes, would have been a major embarrassment after what was an uninspired display. The full-back’s stunning strike changed the shape of the tie and makes Madrid firm favourites to progress to the quarterfinals, even if their prospects beyond that are dubious.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadrid) February 24, 2021
Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET:
—Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea
—Lazio vs. Bayern
Wednesday, 3 p.m. ET:
—Atalanta vs. Real Madrid
—Gladbach vs. Man City
It’s time for more Champions League 🌟 pic.twitter.com/6OiylEFiMK
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 23, 2021