Atalanta Keeper Turned Into A Muppet After His Glaring Blunder Cost His Team vs. Real Madrid
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Real Madrid was a bit fortunate to escape its first-leg Round of 16 Champions League match with Atalanta with a win. It fully deserved its win back at home on Tuesday.
Karim Benzema capitalized on an awful mistake from Atalanta’s keeper to set Real Madrid on its way to a 3-1 win on Tuesday in Madrid. Los Blancos advanced to the quarterfinals 4-1 on aggregate.
Tuesday’s second leg had a lot of similarities, except the Spanish side was far better and fully deserved the victory.
Just as in the first leg, Atalanta came out the better side. Within minutes, Robin Gosens had a shot inside the six-yard box (hit straight at Thibaut Courtois) and Real Madrid took its sweet time to settle into the game.
But also like the first leg, Atalanta fizzled out after the 15th minute. Instead of a red card, this time it was Madrid’s midfield of Luka Modrić, Toni Kroos and Federico Valverde taking control.
That measure of control paid off in the form of the opener, with some high pressing forcing keeper Marco Sportiello into an appalling, Arsenal-esque giveaway to Modrić. The Croatian did the rest in setting up Karim Benzema for his 70th Champions League goal.
Atalanta Goalie Howler vs Real Madrid
Sportiello had only himself to blame, and his reaction was basically the same way I react to losing a race in Mario Kart. It was almost as though he briefly morphed into a Muppet, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a human’s arms flail the way Sportiello’s did after the ball hit the back of the net.
The goal proved killer for the visitors, who couldn’t mount much of a comeback. And in the second half the game effectively came to an end in similar fashion to the first leg.
Rafael Tolói fouled Vinícius on the edge of the box in a similar area to where Freuler was sent off in the first leg. This time, the referee pointed to the spot, which meant just a yellow card for Tolói. The foul was just as damaging, as Sergio Ramos converted from the spot to make it 3-0 on aggregate, leaving Atalanta with a mountain to climb.
Atalanta looked like it had a bit of life late in the match, but it lasted less than a minute.
Muriel scored a lovely free kick in the 83rd minute to pull within two goals on aggregate.
After a slew of substitutions, including Muriel off and Marco Asensio on, the latter scored on his first involvement to put Real Madrid back in the driver’s seat a minute after the former’s goal.
The 4-1 aggregate score will look far worse for Atalanta than might be deserved, but there can be no mistaking which was the better side over two legs.
Real Madrid has yet to really impress this season, but Zinedine Zidane’s side is into the quarterfinals, which is more than Juventus and Barcelona can say at this point.