Real Madrid left it late in their Champions League round of 16 clash against Atalanta for a crucial 1-0 win on Thursday in Bergamo. Ferland Mendy scored his first ever European goal in the 85th minute with a a brilliant finish that saw him curling one into the far corner. Also Read - Porto vs Chelsea: Mount And Chilwell Help Blues to 2-0 Win in Champions League
The Spanish giants though were frustrated for the majority of the clash despite hogging the possession and playing against a side that was with 10 men for over 70 minutes. Remo Freuler was shown a red card by the referee in the 17th minute for a foul on Mendy. Also Read - Kylian Mbappe Scores Twice as PSG Beat Bayern Munich 3-2 in Champions League Thriller
Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini said though later slammed the referee for the sending off. “The match was ruined. I don’t know what the result would have been, we might have still lost, but it would have been a much different and better match,” Gasperini was quoted as saying by ESPN. Also Read - Kevin De Bruyne Signs Contract Extension With Manchester City Until 2025
Then Real were denied by Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini on multiple occasions before finally finding a breakthrough via Mendy with five minutes remaining before the full-time.
“I didn’t even know how to celebrate because it was my first ever European goal,” Mendy told reporters after the match.
Real manager Zinedine Zidane was happy with how the game progressed. “They’re physically strong, and they did a great defensive job. It’s a good result for us and that’s the most important thing. I don’t think creativity is an issue as we scored, and didn’t concede. We’ve got a lot of absentees but we’re on the right track,” Zidane said.
Manchester City too recorded a win in their round-of-16- CL clash as they beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0. Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus were on the scoresheet for the Premier League leaders as they extended their winning run to 19 across competitions.
The match was played in Budapest’s Puskas Arena due to the coronavirus restrictions in Germany.
City manager Pep Guardiola refused to accept his team are favourites to win the competition. “When I see how Bayern Munich played yesterday (beating Lazio 4-1), I do not think so,” Guardiola said. “It is a big challenge to recover the players and make sure they are in the best possible condition. If people want to say we are favourites, it’s okay — we will accept it.”