Real Madrid quietly validated their qualification for the quarter-finals of the Champions League by winning against Atalanta Bergamo by a score of 3-1 (4-1 overall) on Tuesday, March 16. Author of the opener, Karim Benzema took the opportunity to reach the bar of 70 goals in the competition.
He was injured in the adductors in the first leg, absent from a meeting where Real had sorely lacked ideas and edge. As if he still needed to prove that he was the number 1 weapon of his team, Karim Benzema confirmed this Tuesday March 16 the qualification of the Merengue for the quarter-finals of the Champions League (3-1, 1 -0). First scorer of a crucial evening, the French international became the fifth player to reach the 70-goal mark in the Champions League, after the illustrious Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Raúl.
So this goal will not be among its finest. Benzema will simply have expressed his qualities as a finisher and will be able to thank the goalkeeper of Atalanta Bergamo as well as his teammate Luka Modric. Because it was after a missed release from Marco Sportiello that the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner was able to put him in a chair, serving him alone at the penalty spot. The ex-Lyonnais obviously did not pray to punish the error of the opposing goalkeeper (33 ‘) and thus guide Real towards a qualification for the liberating quarter-finals, after two consecutive eliminations at the eighth stage.
Manhandled in the first quarter of an hour by the usual slaughter of Dea players, the White House was relieved by the Frenchman’s goal. Renowned for never giving up, Gian Piero Gasperini’s men were extinguished by the opener. They will never have been so dangerous as in their first situation after 2 minutes of play, when the attempt with the tip of a Luis Muriel’s foot very close to the goal landed in the niche of Thibaut Courtois. And the defensive base of the Italians gradually crumbled, offering a more favorable playing field for the Merengue.
Vinicius Junior particularly enjoyed the spaces left by the multiple projections of the opposing rearguard. As usual, the young Brazilian caused damage with his devastating slaloms (19 ‘, 26’). If he could have exasperated his tendency to want to dribble with the ball into the opposing goal, it was he who obtained the penalty converted by Sergio Ramos on the hour mark for the 2-0 (59 ‘). Atalanta then woke up thanks to the incoming Duvan Zapata, but twice Courtois had the last word (65 ‘, 76’). The Belgian ended up losing a very nice direct free kick from Luis Muriel (82 ‘), but which only aroused very brief hopes for the Dea, punished by Marco Asensio against two minutes later for the 3-1 (84 ‘).
After its early exits against Ajax and Manchester City, Real Madrid advance to the knockout stages of C1 for the first time since their last coronation in 2017/18. Unbeaten for eight matches, the Merengue have consolidated their good series and can, at present, finally rely on the simultaneous presence of executives who have yet been decisive: Benzema, Modric and Ramos. Players who are not the type to have forgotten the winning formula.