Real Madrid have reached the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League after a ruthless match against the Italian side Atalanta.
It was easy for Real in the end, the better team on the night. Even so, Atalanta had their chances, and had Robin Gosens tucked away his early close-range effort, or the referee allowed Luis Muriel to run on goal instead of blowing up right on 45 minutes, the story could have been different.
But the 13-time winners make the quarters, deservedly so, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos and Marco Asensio taking advantage of a series of defensive mistakes by the Italian underdogs. It’s up to Lazio to keep Italy’s flag flying … and they’re 4-1 down against the reigning champs.
The whistle goes for half-time, bang on 45 minutes. You don’t see that too often, and it’s cost Atalanta dearly, because on 44 minutes and 59 seconds, Romero slipped a ball down the middle to release Muriel on goal! He was clear and onside, but didn’t get the opportunity to shoot. That’s … very strange.
Atalanta’s goal in the first 45 minutes would have made the difference but it was a bad luck for the Italian side on the night.
Atalanta make two changes before the restart, and confuse themselves. Caldara and Miranchuk come on for Pessina and Muriel, then Benzema races down the right and rolls across to Asensio, who fires into the bottom left. The keeper should have done better.
However, Real Madrid were too good for the Italian side on the night to seal the much anticipated victory.