On Wednesday, the championship league struggles continued with two more first-round finals. Real Madrid played and won 1-0 as a guest of Atalanta, while Manchester City won 2-0 as a guest of Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Puskás Arena in Budapest.
Italian Atalanta made its debut at all in the Champions League last season, yet it is in a row for the second year in a row among the top 16 teams in Europe. In the eighth final, there was no less obstacle in the way of the Italians than the most successful European cup team, Real Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane’s team has not made it to this round since the 2018 finals, first Ajax and then Manchester City got in the way of the Spaniards and Real is not in the best position now either, Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard couldn’t be there due to injury, Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and Marcelo, but Militao, Rodrygo and Valverde cannot be deployed either.
In light of the above, Zidane started in Courtois – Vázquez, Varane, Nacho, Mendy – Modric, Casemiro, Kroos – Isco – Asensio, Vinicius Junior. Atalanta tried to take up the fight with Golini – Toloi, Romero, Djimisti – Maehle, de Roon – Freuler, Gosens – Pessina – Muriel, Zapata with eleven.
In the 17th minute, the match changed fundamentally when Remo Freulert was sent off by German referee Stieler for overthrowing Mendy. Gian Piero Gasperini didn’t really want to believe his eyes.
In the 23rd minute, Real Madrid also had problems, although this will only affect the rematch, as Casemiro has been given a yellow card and will have to miss the rematch.
In the 30th minute, the Italians also changed due to the show, Pasalic came to replace Zapata.
In the hair of the first half, Real had several positions, but the defenders were always able to block. Finally, the head of Asensio was the first to score in the 40th minute.
The biggest position of the half was ahead of Real, with Golini defending Casemiro’s header in extra time.
The beginning of the second half was pushed by Real, the Italians hardly got to the ball either, there was a big situation in front of Vinícius, but this time a self-sacrificing defender threw himself into his shot.
Ilicic, replacing Muriel in the Atalanta team, did not give up the attacks completely Gasperini, but understandably the defenders were more at work.
In the 57th minute Zidane also sent a striker, Vinicius was replaced by Mariano Díaz, but the quality of the situations still did not want to improve, out of 13 attempts only three shots found a goal for the guests, (zero at Atalanta).
Zidane also threw two youngsters in her hair, sending 19-year-old Sergio Arribas Calvo and 21-year-old Hugo Duro to replace Isco and Asensio.
The scoreboard came in the 86th minute, after a corner variation, the balled Ferland Mendy scored a big goal from the outside of the box.
The winner of Real Madrid thus became the French defender, who fought an exhibition and then scored a goal, winning Real Madrid 1-0.
In the other eighth final of the game day, Borussia Mönchengladbach received Manchester City at the Puskás Arena in Budapest due to the usual entry restrictions affecting the English.
The Germans started in Sommer – Elvedi, Zakaria, Ginter – Lainer, Neuhaus, Kramer, Hofmann, Bensebaini – Pléa, Stindl, and Pep Guardiola in Ederson – Walker, Dias, Laporte, Cancelo – Rodri, Gündogan, Bernardo – Sterling, Foden , Jesus stood with his team.The English team have won 18 games in a row on their way to Budapest, they have not been eliminated in a betting match since November 21, but this is the Champions League, whose trophy is still missing from the team’s showcase to this day.
The match started as expected, the English kept the ball and kept the ‘Gladbach team under pressure almost constantly. This was a good period for the visitors, with several opportunities to take the lead, particularly when Bernardo Silva slipped through the defense on the right to come up alone against City Cancelo, but the home side’s keeper showed his lightning reflexes.
Not only did ‘Gladbach not have a goal shot in the first half, the Germans did not reach the ball within the opponent’s sixteen.
At the beginning of the second half, after a sold ball, Jesus could take the ball to Sommer alone, but waited until a defender threw in front of him.
On the other side, there was an opportunity in front of Pléa, next to a goal shot with a brilliant, cornered move, but the City scored another goal. In the 65th minute, Cancelo turned on Bernardo’s head again, but this time the Portuguese did not head to the goal, but gave a goal pass to Jesus, the Brazilian shot into the goal from close range.
The Germans had another position in the last minute of the match, but Ederson was able to defend, winning Manchester City 2-0.
The rematches of the duel will be held on March 16th.