Real Madrid have entered their favourite time of the season, and they still have a lot to play for. This evening they welcomed Italian side Atalanta to Valdebebas for their Champions League last 16 second leg, having won 1-0 in the first leg in Bergamo.
Zinedine Zidane’s men secured a comfortable and confident 3-1 win to secure their place in the quarter finals and rebuke the notion that Spanish football is dead and buried. Los Blancos took a two-goal lead inside the opening hour and quickly quelled any notion of a comeback from the visitors.
Atalanta had started well, playing without fear, but were punished for a loose ball just after the half-hour. Luka Modric seized upon it before funnelling it to Karim Benzema, who finished like the ruthless forward he is.
Another member of the old guard so trusted by Zidane contributed soon after, with Sergio Ramos adding Madrid’s second in the 60th minute. Vinicius won a penalty after a mazy run, and the Andalusian, just-returned from injury, duly converted.
Madrid may have been forgiven for thinking it was over, but it wasn’t. Atalanta pulled one back late on through Luis Muriel, who scored with a well-struck free-kick in the 83rd minute. Zidane didn’t even have time to get nervous, however, with his team replying immediately with a goal from substitute Marco Asensio to restore their two-goal lead and put them out of sight.