Actual Madrid averted one other early Champions League exit on Tuesday by beating Atalanta 3-1 to win the tie 4-1 on mixture and attain the quarter-finals for the primary time in three years.
Sergio Ramos marked his return from harm by changing a penalty after Karim Benzema continued his scoring streak by capitalising on a obvious error from Atlanta goalkeeper Marco Sportiello.
Sportiello’s scuffed clearance within the first half resulted in Benzema being given a straightforward end on the Alfredo di Stefano stadium and after an electrical begin, Atalanta by no means actually recovered.
Luis Muriel pulled one again for the guests late on however any hopes of a comeback have been rapidly dashed as substitute Marco Asensio fired in a 3rd for Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane’s aspect will probably be in Friday’s draw for the final eight and with their outdated guard match and firing once more, they are going to be hopeful of exceeding what at the moment are dampened expectations of La Liga’s reigning champions.
“We confirmed tonight how a lot starvation there nonetheless is on this group,” stated Luka Modric. “We are able to go far. How far let’s examine however at this time was an essential step.”
Ramos performed simply over an hour in his second look since recovering from a knee harm whereas Benzema’s purpose was his eighth in as many video games and seventieth within the Champions League, making him solely the fifth participant to achieve that quantity.
The 35-year-old Modric and Toni Kroos have been dominant within the absence of the suspended Casemiro.
“I really feel 27!” joked Modric. “The years in your passport do not matter, it is about what you do on the pitch.”
How Madrid’s veterans would fare in opposition to extra polished opposition stays to be seen, after they got here up brief in opposition to Manchester Metropolis final 12 months and Ajax the 12 months earlier than that, each within the final 16.
They are going to be unlikely to profit from the identical generosity Atalanta afforded them throughout the 2 legs.
Remo Freuler’s crimson card and a late purpose spoiled the Italians’ night time in Bergamo and it was particular person errors from Sportiello after which Rafael Toloi for the penalty that permit them down once more right here.
“We began sturdy and we have been succeeding with our urgent,” stated Muriel. “It is a disgrace as a result of from our two errors got here the 2 objectives that lower our legs from underneath us.”
Atalanta tore into Madrid early on, with the depth of their press giving their opponents no time to settle and Robin Gosens might have scored, solely to fail to attach with Muriel’s cross.
The early storm weathered, Madrid discovered their ft as Kroos started to dictate from deep and the tireless Modric popped passes round Atalanta’s midfield.
The vigorous Vinicius Junior took too lengthy after a neat one-two with Benzema, who then confirmed the teenager the way it ought to be performed.
Sportiello’s clearance was tamed by Modric, whose second contact pushed the ball into the field earlier than a 3rd lower the ball again to Benzema, who had an open web.
The purpose killed Atalanta’s perception and Vinicius nearly added a second after half-time, solely to prod broad after a surging run to the sting of Atalanta’s six-yard field.
However the warning was not heeded and Vinicius raced previous Toloi, whose dangling leg made sufficient contact to concede the penalty, which Ramos whipped into the nook.
Ramos signalled to the bench that his work was performed and he departed shortly after, earlier than Benzema headed Lucas Vazquez’s cross at Sportiello and the rebound in opposition to the put up.
Muriel gave Atalanta hope by curling in an outstanding free-kick with eight minutes left however right away it was gone once more, as Asensio drove in a 3rd.