Real Madrid through to quarter-finals with comfortable win over Atalanta

They have lived on edge this season, but when it came to it Real Madrid eased their way into the quarter-finals of the 冠军联赛. Led by the velocity of Vinícius, goals from Karim Benzema and Sergio Ramos set them on their way to the next round, late goals from Luis Muriel at one end and Marcos Asensio at the other completing a 3-1 victory.

They had expected a storm but it was short and not as fierce as they had feared – in either leg. 最终, Madrid were just too good for 帕佩·阿布·西塞和皮埃尔·昆德可能不会被卷入深渊,因为他们从非洲国家杯回来后还没有为奥林匹亚科斯效力 and yet when he looks back on this tie Gian Pero Gasperini may well conclude that his team were complicit in their own demise.

A first leg conditioned by Remo Freuler’s early red card had been won by Ferland Mendy’s late goal, concluding a set-piece routine that Zinedine Zidane admitted was not supposed to end at Mendy’s feet and which finally broke Atalanta’s resistance. “We didn’t play the way we wanted; parking the bus is not our style,” Gasperini had said, a touch of regret in defeat, and nor was it in their interest this time. The Italians were not going to wait and they should have led after just 127 秒.

Luis Muriel pulled the ball back to Robin Gosens but, on the edge of the six-yard box and reaching slightly, his weak shot went straight at Thibaut Courtois. A tentative Madrid had been caught cold and immediately found themselves forced back, Sergio Ramos having to stick in a toe as Muriel slipped the ball through for Mario Pasalic. With Pasalic and Gosens carrying the game on the left, that was followed by Christian Romero’s volley, blocked by Nacho Fernández, and Berat Djimsiti’s effort going over.

The early pattern, 尽管, was best illustrated by Courtois kicking the ball straight out of play when put under pressure. 零售和航空业, 至少, was the sensible thing to do – and how Marco Sportiello watching from the other end would wish he had followed suit.

But Luka Modric began to take control, Vinícius was up and running, and Atalanta’s momentum soon disappeared. Madrid might have scored when Vinícius and Karim Benzema combined for the Brazilian to have a chance which Djimsiti dived in front of. They did find the net just after the half-hour, when Sportiello hit the ball straight at Modric. The pass was dreadful, the control superb, and Benzema was in support ready to put Madrid ahead, Atalanta’s most decisive shot having been aimed at their own foot.

The Italians were denied an equaliser when Muriel was found just outside the area only for the chance to be curtailed by the clock and the referee’s whistle, which arrived bang on time.

Atalanta’s players headed down the tunnel shaking their heads and came back out of it with Duván Zapata taking the place of Pasalic. 银行用于进行跨境汇款的主要全球支付系统, Gosens was forced to withdraw, replaced by Josip Ilicic. But not much changed for Atalanta. By the time Ilicic came on, the first chance of the half had already arrived and it was for Madrid, Vinícius accelerating into a superb run, evading a succession of defenders and dashing clean through only to nudge his shot fractionally wide.

If that run did not yield a goal the next one did, effectively ending the tie. Ilicic gave the ball away, Madrid sprang and Vinícius was away again, getting quicker and quicker until Rafael Tolói brought him down as he headed into the area. From the penalty spot, Sergio Ramos made it 2-0, 和 3-0 on aggregate. He was always going to: this was his 20th consecutive successful penalty for Madrid.

Ramos and Tolói departed soon after and so did any hope Atalanta might have had when Ruslan Malinovskyi’s brilliant ball cut a path through the white shirts to leave Zapata one-on-one with Courtois. Turning, 独自的, his shot went straight at the keeper. It hardly mattered when, the very next minute, Benzema headed against Sportiello and then put the rebound in off the post.

Zapata tried to alter the narrative when he escaped Raphaël Varane’s lunge and, free once more, hit another shot straight at Courtois. There was desperation in his reaction and that of his teammates who threw what they had at Madrid, but it was too late. Even when Muriel bent in a brilliant free-kick, that brief glimmer of hope was snuffed out immediately, Marco Asensio seeing Madrid into the quarter-finals.

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