24 Feb Mendy saves Actual Madrid from embarrassing draw at 10-man Atalanta with late winner in 8/10 displaying
Ferland Mendy scored late on as Actual Madrid beat 10-man Atalanta 1-Zero in Bergamo on Wednesday to take the benefit of their Champions League round-of-16 tie.
Midfielder Remo Freuler was despatched off by referee Tobias Stieler with simply 17 minutes performed for a foul on Mendy. Madrid discovered it troublesome to capitalise within the first half, although, as Isco, Luka Modric and Vinicius Junior all shot off beam. Their greatest probability got here as Toni Kroos’ free kick discovered Casemiro, whose header was nicely saved by keeper Pierluigi Gollini.
After the break, Modric had a shot deflected huge and Vinicius fired over the bar from shut vary. Madrid continued to battle to create clear-cut alternatives, earlier than Mendy lastly broke the impasse with a long-range effort within the 87th minute.
Mendy’s late purpose was an enormous, enormous reduction. Flying dwelling from Italy with a goalless draw, having confronted 10 males for greater than 70 minutes, would have been a serious embarrassment after what was an uninspired show. The complete-back’s gorgeous strike modified the form of the tie and makes Madrid agency favourites to progress to the quarterfinals, even when their prospects past which might be doubtful.
The pre-match chatter targeted on Isco, introduced in for considered one of Madrid’s largest video games of the season after being exiled from the team for therefore lengthy. It was on no account an ideal efficiency, however it was an encouraging one, and the playmaker was concerned in a lot of what the team did nicely earlier than being withdrawn.
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They could have gotten the win, however this was usually a desperately irritating recreation from Actual Madrid. They did not put Atalanta underneath almost sufficient strain and had been usually lowered to optimistically capturing from distance. There are mitigating elements — primarily, the key damage disaster — however it’s laborious to flee the sensation that this can be a team that’s nicely previous its greatest and now not amongst Europe’s elite.
Vinicius stays a vastly irritating participant: a lot pure capacity and so many admirable qualities, however so little finish product. Right here he had a poor night time, failing to work the goalkeeper every time a possibility offered itself. There’s nonetheless religion within the Brazilian at senior stage at Actual Madrid — you marvel if Zinedine Zidane feels the identical manner.
Supervisor ranking out of 10
6 — Zidane sprung a shock in his beginning XI, dropping Mariano Diaz to play with no centre-forward. As a substitute, the team lined up with Isco in a withdrawn, central function, and Vinicius and Marco Asensio on both flank. The outcome was largely disappointing.
As Vinicius struggled, Zidane acted swiftly in bringing on Mariano, however the team remained flat. With 9 gamers nonetheless out injured, there weren’t some other skilled choices to show to, and Zidane had no alternative however to show to youngsters Sergio Arribas and Hugo Duro.
Participant rankings (1-10; 10 = greatest. Gamers launched after 70 minutes get no ranking)
GK Thibaut Courtois, 6 — Did not have a single save to make on the night time.
DF Lucas Vazquez, 6 — An vital first-half problem on Luis Muriel contained in the field, and usually did high-quality.
DF Raphael Varane, 6 — Did a great job of retaining Atalanta’s much-vaunted ahead line quiet, though the early crimson card meant the hosts barely threatened.
DF Nacho, 7 — Has executed nicely currently. Bought into the field nicely within the first half earlier than unleashing a wild cross-shot.
DF Ferland Mendy, 8 — Had the largest affect of any participant on the night time. Fouled early on for the crimson card as he embarked on what’s turning into a trademark burst ahead, after which scored an outstanding purpose — his first on this competitors — in the previous couple of minutes.
MF Casemiro, 8 — Will miss the second leg after choosing up a delicate yellow card, which is absolutely unhealthy information given his significance to the team. Regarded involved he would possibly decide up a second later on when he went down simply within the field. Had Madrid’s greatest first-half probability along with his header.
MF Toni Kroos, 8 — His 308th Madrid recreation, equalling the legendary Uli Stielike because the German with essentially the most appearances for the membership. A pinpoint free kick supply for Casemiro’s header.
MF Luka Modric, 7 — Shot over the bar within the first half, simply huge after half-time, after which over the bar once more. A busy, full of life efficiency.
MF Isco, 7 — An surprising begin. Supposedly a false 9, though that actually meant taking over acquainted, superior midfield positions. Did fairly nicely: one first-half probability was deflected huge, and performed in Vinicius with a beautiful go too.
FW Vinicius Junior, 5 — Caught by goalkeeper Gollini within the first half. Shot off beam a number of occasions and was withdrawn early. Not the perfect participant to steer the road, on condition that he hasn’t scored in 4 months.
FW Marco Asensio, 5 — A quiet first half and little or no enchancment after that. Asensio goes lacking in video games far too usually for a participant with a lot expertise.
FW Mariano Diaz, 6 — Being left on the bench was a humiliation, Zidane preferring to play with no striker in any respect. Got here on for Vinicius and did not threaten the Atalanta purpose in additional than a half an hour on the pitch.
FW Sergio Arribas, N/R — Got here on for Asensio with 15 minutes remaining and confirmed some good touches.
FW Hugo Duro, N/R — Made his Champions League debut, changing Isco. Had a shot blocked.