Zinedine Zidane: “It was difficult for us but in the end it’s a good result”

Real Madrid secured an invaluable 1-0 away victory at Atalanta in the Champions League last 16 first leg this evening. Ferland Mendy scored the only goal of the game late on, after Los Blancos had struggled to break down their ten-man hosts.

Madrid 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.

 

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. Madrid were unable to capitalise on their man advantage for most of the game, however, until Mendy scored his golazo inside the final five.

Atalanta v Real Madrid

“It was difficult for us but in the end it’s a good result,” Zinedine Zidane said post-match in comments carried by Marca. “It’s an important result with an away goal, but we know there’s a return leg and we have to win. It wasn’t easy, even ten against eleven. We played against a very physically strong team who were defensively very good, so it’s a good result.”

Zidane was reluctant to comment extensively on the red card that, in many ways, shaped the game. “I don’t know if it was excessive,” he said. “We didn’t play a great game, but the important thing was to win. It was difficult for us to find the spaces [when coming up against ten men]”.

Tags Champions League La Liga Real Madrid Zinedine Zidane