Real Madrid welcome Atalanta on Tuesday night in their Champions League last-16 tie at the Alfredo Di Stefano in Madrid. The Los Blancos have snatched a slender away lead in their previous encounter thanks to a Ferland Mendy stunner. They will look to book their place in the last-8 of Europe’s elite league by winning against the Italian side. Madrid has a good record of defeating Italian teams and they will hope to continue the same against the LaDea’s. Atalanta, on the other hand, will also fancy their chances of making it into the last-8 for the second time.
Why you should watch it
The game will be a very interesting one to watch with this being a UCL last-16 tie spicing it up even more. Real Madrid will truly like to bring an end to their early exits from the league two times consecutively. They lost the first one to Ajax and the latter to Man City. After winning three times on the trot between 2015 and 2018, the former champions will again seek the elusive glory. The La Dea’s will also be looking to make their presence felt in the competition in Europe. So stay tuned in and don’t miss this crucial knockout clash.
The Los Blancos are heading into this Atalanta game on the back of a nervy comeback win against Elche.. Elche was 1-0 up in the 60th minute courtesy of a goal from Dani Calvo. But Benzema’s brilliant brace in the 72nd and 91st min ensured that Real pick up full points against them. Madrid played in a completely different formation against them which is unfamiliar to their usual 4-3-3 formation. There were three center backs and a blocker in front of them with the full-backs playing much upfront. It was mainly a 3-1-4-2 formation. But it didn’t bore the result and so Zidane was forced to change to their 4-3-3 formation by making substitutions. Zizou will definitely not be trying to experiment with something new with an eye to make it to the last-8.
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The La Dea’s are coming into this fixture on the back of a strong 3-1 win against Spezia. Mario Pasalic starred in the match with 2 goals along with Luis Muriel scoring one in between the two goals. Josep Ilcic, Robin Gosens and substitute Duvan Zapata were the assist providers in what was a quite hard-fought win. Atalanta is in a great run of form in the past 5 matches in SerieA baring the loss against Inter. They have won all four matches quite dominantly and that provides Real with the caution not to take them lightly. They will also be looking earnestly to make it to the quarter-finals of the UCL two times in a row.
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Real are going into the match at the Alfredo Di Stefano with injuries to some of their key players. Zidane will again be missed the services of star Belgian Playmaker Eden Hazard. He returned for the last match against Elche but again picked up a muscular injury in his right leg. Daniel Carvajal will also be missing out on the match due to a long-term injury. Mariano Diaz is also ruled out of the fixture nursing an obturator externus injury. Star Brazilian Casemiro is also suspended for the match after picking up a yellow card in the last match against Atalanta. Other than this, there are no known injury issues in the team as of now.
Zidane is expected to be back to their usual 4-3-3 formation against Atalanta. Nacho Fernandez and Casemiro will most likely be replaced by Toni Kroos and Luka Modric. Vazquez and Mendy will drop down to their right and left-back position respectively. Isco will also be replaced by Marco Asensio on the right-wing. Vinicius will shift to the left-wing. Ramos and Varane will start in defense certainly.
Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperoni doesn’t have much to ponder about for his starting XI. There are. only two injury cases on the Team. Hans Hateboer is confirmed to be out of the fixture against Real Madrid. Bosko Sutalo will also not be able to play in this match. Midfielder Remo Freuler will remain suspended for the match after receiving a straight red in the previous assignment against Madrid. Other than these three, there are no injuries on the team.
The La Dea’s will have most of their players fit and available for selection. Berat Djimsiti was injured in the last game and is set to be replaced by Argentine Gabriel Romero. Freuler in Central Midfield will possibly be replaced by Pasalic and in his position, Ilcic is likely to play. There will be no other notable changes to the squad that will face Real than which faced Spezia.
Head to Head
The two teams have never met each other anywhere before this year’s Champions League. In the only matchup between the clubs, Madrid came out on top of that by winning 1-0. Ferland Mendy’s stunner proved to be the decisive goal in that fixture.
Players to watch out for
1) Karim Benzema
The Frenchman has been in blistering form for the Los Blancos when it comes to scoring goals upfront. He has already netted 20 times this season and has given 5 assists. A typical fox in the box, Benzema will look to polish his scoring boots once again against Atalanta.
2) Toni Kroos
The German is always the man who will Real Madrid depend upon to take control of the midfield. He has been in excellent touch for the Los Blancos, scoring 2 goals and 7 assists this season. Once again, he will look to produce a superb performance against Atalanta and give Madrid a much-needed win.
3) Luis Muriel
The Colombian is in swashbuckling form for the La Dea’s in this season. He has chipped in with 19 goals and 8 assists providing them with the accuracy they need upfront. A threat in the opposition box, Muriel will look once again to score against Madrid to help his side.
4) Duvan Zapata
Another Colombian, Duvan Zapata is also in great touch for the Italian side. He has found the back of the net 13 times and provided 10 assists in this season. An opportunistic striker, Zapata, will also try to be back among the goals for the La Dea’s.
It will be of no wonder that it will be a very fierce and exciting clash between the two teams. Real Madrid will look to shrug off all the panics and comfortably progress into the last-8 by beating Atalanta. The La Dea’s on the other hand, will also try to keep their head held high by upsetting the Los Blancos. Expect a very competitive battle to occur between the two sides.
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