Real Madrid travelled to Italy this evening to face Atalanta in the last 16 first leg of the Champions League. Los Blancos won their group in the previous phase of the competition, finishing two points clear of both Borussia Monchengladbach and Shakhtar Donetsk and four points clear of Inter.
Madrid’s form has improved after a shaky start to the season. They’ve won four straight in La Liga and now sit on the shoulder of league leaders Atletico Madrid, just three points behind.
Stunned that foul from Atalanta's Freuler was worthy of such a game-defining decision as a red card. If that is the punishment within the rules of the game, then the rules are not meaningfully benefitting the game.
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) February 24, 2021
Atalanta sit fifth in Serie A, ten points off league leaders Inter. They came through a Champions League group including Liverpool, Ajax and Midtjylland, finishing two points behind Liverpool, four clear of Ajax and nine clear of Midtjylland.
The game opened furiously in terms of incident. Remo Freuler was sent off for Atalanta early doors in a controversial decision, before Casemiro picked up a booking that will ensure he misses the second leg. Duvan Zapata, an important player for the Italians, also limped off injured. Madrid were unable to capitalise on their man advantage for most of the game, however, until Ferland Mendy scored a stunning goal inside the final five.