Ferland Mendy scored late as Real Madrid beat 10-man Atalanta 1-0 on Wednesday (Feb 24) to close in on the Champions League quarter-finals.
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 Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday (Feb 24).
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 goal scoring 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.
The second leg will be on Mar 16 in Madrid.