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Real Madrid vs Atalanta (3-1) Match Summary: Spanish giants through to the quarter-finals

Team News

With the return of their skipper, [player 186353] moved to right-back, and [player 186543] played from the right-wing. [player 260862] joined Modric and Kroos in the midfield due to Casemiro’s suspension. Vinicius was deployed in his usual role from the left side, and main man Benzema led the line.

Atalanta had an unchanged defence with Sportiello in goal. Gosens and [player 84604] at wing-backs. [player 1717] and [player 367822] started in midfield as the latter came in for the suspended [player 130145]. Muriel started upfront with Pašalić and [player 62872] behind him.

First-Half

Quite surprisingly, [team 3468] started slowly and were struggling to deal with [team 708]’s high press. The Italian side started well as they hoped for an early goal to get them back into the tie. With [player 159700]’s absence, Real Madrid were struggling to play through the press and were giving the ball away in dangerous areas.

With the game growing, there was something unique observed in Madrid’s shape. In possession, they were changing to a 3-5-2, which saw Nacho, Ramos and [player 95807] at the back. [player 98903] and Vazquez were providing the width, with the midfield three staying in their positions.

The fascinating part was the partnership between Benzema and [player 600687] as the Brazilian played off the focal point. The Frenchman was constantly dropping deeper to link up the game and get the wing-backs forward. Meanwhile, Vinicius was making penetrative runs into the channels. As a result, Atalanta were getting stretched, allowing Madrid’s midfielders to push forward.

Atalanta’s strong start lasted for a large part of the first half, but they failed to finish their chances. However, a lot of times, [player 184941]’s excellent anticipation saved Real Madrid from conceding.

Atalanta had a fine spell of possession inside their own half, and Real Madrid’s press was not very intense. However, [player 129436] made a horrible error as he gave away the ball just outside the penalty area. [player 268] collected the ball, and his composure to find [player 93948] was exceptional. The Frenchman scored against the run of play.

After a solid display for more of the first half, Atalanta had only themselves to blame for conceding first. A mistake against a team like Real Madrid will mostly be punished with a goal.

However, the Spanish giants did not have much to be happy for as they were poor for large parts of the first half. They were careless in possession and were giving away the ball often, but Atalanta failed to punish them. As for the second half, [coach 407775] had to get a strong response from his side.

Second-Half

With Aatlanta having nothing to lose, [player 129523] was introduced in place of [player 73603]. Once again, Atalanta had the better start with constant pressing giving problems to Real Madrid. With Zapata’s ability to hold the ball, more long balls were being played to bypass Madrid’s press.

However, this time Atalanta’s strong start didn’t last for too long, and the home side started to get control of the game. Modric and [player 30289] began to dictate the pace of the game as Atalanta got tired after constant pressing. To keep up the energy, Gasperini replaced [player 25242] with [player 128899]. Atalanta did create some excellent chances but failed to finish them. Some were off target, and some were saved by [player 1314]. The most significant was when Zapata was one on one with the Belgian but couldn’t score.

On the 60th minute, Real Madrid were awarded a penalty after [player 129921]’s foul inside the area. Ramos stepped up and made confirmed Real Madrid’s progression to the next round. With half an hour to go, Atalanta just had too much to do, but they kept pushing for the breakthrough.

Zidane then took off Ramos for some rest as [player 460160] before replacing Vinicius with [player 7346228]. Later on, Asensio came in for Valverde as Zidane kept the energy high.

Atalanta did get on the score sheet with an unbelievable strike from [player 128853]. The Colombian unleashed an outstanding free-kick to give Atalanta the slightest of hope. However, just a minute later, the home side recovered their two-goal lead as [player 186668] scored to finish the tie.

Overall Assessment

Not the most comprehensive performance by the Spanish side but given their injury list and Atalanta’s strong domestic season in [league 384], this is a well-deserved result for Real Madrid. Zidane’s tactical adjustment for the remainder of the tournament will be key for Real Madrid to achieve any potential success this season in Europe. However, with the injuries to their star players, a [league 2] trophy is highly unlikely.

As for Atalanta, this is not what they would have hoped for after reaching last season’s quarter-finals. Still, to make it to the knockout stages for two consecutive seasons is an outstanding achievement for [coach 456038]’s emerging side.

After being eliminated in the round of sixteen for consecutive seasons, Real Madrid finally make it to the last 8.

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