Manchester City and Real Madrid kept on rolling today, with the two teams posting wins in the opening legs of their respective UEFA Champions League Round of 16 matches.
While City routinely posted yet another triumph, Los Blancos had to work hard in Bergamo to get back home with a win.
Red Card Decides The Match in Italy
It was the 19th minute once the referee showed a red card to Atalanta’s defender Remo Freuler who brought down one defender as the last man in the defense. That was a massive blow for the hosts who couldn’t recover mentally from that blow and also, couldn’t compete with Real. In the end, the Spanish side defeated La Dea, 0-1.
But even though many expected to see the guests quickly solving this affair in their favor, they would only score four minutes before the end of the regular part of the game through Ferland Mendy.
WHAT A GOAL BY FERLAND MENDY!pic.twitter.com/LbLL7eKpMG
— Allu (@GreatWhite_9) February 24, 2021
He received a ball from Luka Modric following one corner, and elegantly placed it in the net from some 22 yards. He secured massive success for his team, who now holds the lead and welcomes La Dea in Madrid in two weeks.
Despite the negative result, Atalanta’s players and their head coach Gan Piero Gasperini aren’t discouraged, and they want to make a surprise at Santiago Bernabeu.
“We just have to win in Madrid. It’s easy – we can’t overthink, we just have one possibility. We must win,” Gasperini stated at the press following the event.
This is easier said than done, but having in mind Atalanta’s potential, not impossible at all.
City’s Rampage Continues
The Sky Blues won for the 19th straight time and didn’t lose in 26 matches in a row. City is by far the best team in Europe right now, and if they continue to play like this, Pep Guardiola’s side will have excellent chances of capturing the trophy. Borussia Monchengladbach experienced the power of the team from Etihad Stadium.
His team was confident and routine, winning 0-2. The scorers were Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus, scoring each in one half. The first goal was delivered by Silva, who used a perfect cross from Joao Cancelo heading the ball besides Borussia’s goalkeeper.
Jesus hit the back of the net in the 64th minute, with Cancelo once again finding Silva following a corner, only this time, the Portuguese assisted his teammate for 0-2.
12 – Manchester City have won their 12th consecutive away match in all competitions, breaking the record run for an English top-flight side, which was previously set by Man City themselves in November 2017. Crusade. pic.twitter.com/ts1FiLBQ0m
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 24, 2021
The Sky-Blues had many chances to score today, and if their players had a little bit more composure in the critical situation, the win would be much higher. Guardiola mentioned that once speaking with the reporters.
“In general, it was good. We controlled the game and conceded a chance at the end. Unfortunately, we were not clinical enough up front, especially when we were one-on-one against the keeper.”
With tonight’s two matches, all the first legs of the Round of 16 were played. In seven days, we will see the first rematches. On Tuesday, Borussia Dortmund hots Sevilla following a 3-1 win in Spain, while Juventus awaits Porto and chases a 2-1 deficit from the first matchup.
Liverpool and RB Leipzig share the pitch on Wednesday (3-0 for the Reds in the first leg), and PSG and Barcelona at Parc des Princes (4-1 for the French side).
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.