A 4-1 aggregate win saw Real Madrid qualify to the quarterfinal of the Champions League for the first time in three years at Atalanta’s expense.
Real Madrid secured their passport into the Champions League quarter-final for the first time in three years after beating Atalanta over both legs. On Tuesday night, the Whites won 3-1 to complete a 4-1 drubbing of the Serie A outfit across 180 minutes of football.
Despite a bright start from the visitors in the Spanish capital, the hosts struck first at the Alfredo di Stefano Stadium. Karim Benzema struck for the hosts after Luka Modric capitalized on a goalkeeping error to give his side the advantage before the break.
Sergio Ramos struck post the hour mark from the penalty spot to put Los Blancos in total command. Atalanta refused to go down without a fight and their efforts were rewarded as Luis Muriel scored off a powerful freekick in a goal that turned out to be worth just a consolation.
Marco Asensio soon scored his first Champions League goal in two years to restore Real Madrid’s two-goal cushion and put the tie without doubt, five minutes ahead of full time. Here’s a look at the three talking points from the match.
NACHO WAS THE UNSUNG HERO FOR REAL MADRID
Even though they conceded a goal late on, Real Madrid were solid defensively in both legs against their opposition and did not allow them any clear-cut chances at goal. One of the reasons for their defensive solidity was Nacho Fernandez, who was at the top of his game in both legs and the silent warrior at the back with his abilities.
In the second leg, he kept Ruslan Malinovskiy at bay with relative ease and nullified any attacking momentum that Atalanta would create through their right flank. In the final half hour, Nacho anchored the defence very well after Sergio Ramos was taken off and was really composed on the ball- one of Madrid’s most reliable players proved himself again.