Mendy's late goal gives Madrid win over 10-man Atalanta

Ferland Mendy of Real Madrid (hidden from view) celebrating his goal with his teammates during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Atalanta and Real Madrid at Gewiss Stadium on February 24, 2021 in Bergamo, Italy.

Real Madrid struggled to break down 10-man Atalanta before Ferland Mendy netted an 86th-minute winner to give the Spanish giant a 1-0 win in the first leg of the round of 16 on Wednesday.

Madrid entered the game as the big favourite despite a slew of injuries, and Atalanta's chances diminished further when midfielder Remo Freuler was sent off in the 17th minute after being adjudged to have denied a goalscoring opportunity.

But Madrid — which was missing players including forward Karim Benzema, midfielder Eden Hazard and captain Sergio Ramos — still found it difficult to test Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini until the end of the first half, when he pulled off a great reaction save to keep out Casemiro’s header from Toni Kroos' free kick.

Just as it looked as if Atalanta would hold on for a draw, Mendy received the ball outside the area after a corner and curled a shot into the right side of the net from 20 yards.


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