Real Madrid punish Atalanta to reach to quarter-finals

Last 16 2nd leg (Agg. 4-1)

Real Madrid 3-1 Atalanta 

Real Madrid progressed to the Champions League quarter finals for the first time in three seasons with a 3-1 win over Atalanta in the second leg of their last 16 tie.

After suffering defeat at this stage to Ajax and Manchester City in previous campaigns, the 13-time European champions go through 4-1 on aggregate.

Zinedine Zidane chose to stick with the system of three centre-backs that he trialled for an hour against Elche on Saturday, while Luka Modric and Toni Kroos started in midfield.

The visitors had the first chance of the evening when Robin Gosens couldn’t beat Thibaut Courtois from close range after a Luis Muriel cross.

Vinicius Junior threatened to open the scoring for Los Blancos midway through the first half when, after combining with Karim Benzema, he saw his shot blocked by Berat Djimsiti.

It would be Atalanta, though, who were the makers of their own downfall minutes later. Marco Sportiello’s stray pass allowed Modric to square for Benzema to score.

Sergio Ramos celebrates after scoring from the penalty spot.

Into the second half, Sportiello found himself facing a penalty. Rafael Toloi had been penalised for a trip on Vinicius and subsequently booked.

The Brazilian had come within inches of a sensational, solo goal minutes beforehand, though his toe-poked finish went just wide.

Sergio Ramos stepped up to take the awarded spot-kick, beating the Sportiello with power and precision in finding the corner.

The tie should’ve been wrapped up not long afterwards, with Benzema hitting first Sportiello and then the post when he connected with Lucas Vazquez’s cross.

Now needing three goals to go through, Atalanta sought to find a way past Courtois, but the Belgian stood firm for two strikes from Duvan Zapata.

The former Chelsea goalkeeper got a hand on Muriel’s freekick, though it wasn’t enough to keep it out and preserve his clean sheet.

Atalanta, however, weren’t in the tie for very long, with substitute Marco Asensio beating Sportiello at his near post to net a third for the hosts.

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