UEFA Champions League 2020-21: Real Madrid survives Atalanta test, Manchester City draws first blood
The 2020-21 UEFA Champions League pre-quarters opening leg has come to an end. Wednesday saw a couple of final first-leg matches, with the top teams managing to survive. Things are likely to get intense as things move on to the second leg within a couple of weeks.
The UEFA Champions League 2020-21 has witnessed the conclusion of the first leg of its pre-quarters rounds. As Wednesday saw a couple of final matches of the same, there were barely any upsets. Nonetheless, the results were not promising either, as things are sure to get intense in the second leg.
Former record champion Real Madrid travelled to Italy to take on rising giant Atalanta. While the Spanish champion was the favourite to walk out with a win, it did happen so.
However, the win was not impressive enough, as Ferland Mendy was the lone goal scorer in the 1-0 win. Furthermore, the side has to thank the 17th-minute red card to the host’s Freuler. While Madrid is also the favourite to walk away with a win in the second led at Santiago Bernabéu, it won’t be a cakewalk.
“It took us some time, but we scored a very important goal. This is a good result. Isco played a good game, we got ourselves a good result, but the tie isn’t over yet. We played a very strong team; defensively, they played well. And the most important thing is the win. We didn’t concede and we know there are lots of injuries, but we’re not giving many chances away,” said Madrid boss, Zinedine Zidane.
Meanwhile, in the other game, English giant Manchester City came up with relatively better performance, as it beat German giant Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 in an away clash. Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus were the goal scorers.
City continues to stay unbeaten this year across competitions, while Pep Guardiola and co is the outright favourite to progress to the quarters after the second leg at home. However, despite the win, Guardiola wants his boys to be more clinical in the return leg.
“In general, we played really well. We were not clinical enough up front with the actions - the one against ones with the keeper, with the defender. We have to be more clinical in this competition; you have to be better,” he said.
However, Guardiola also admitted that despite being one of the favourites to win the UCL this year, his side is not as favourite as Bayern Munich. “When I see Bayern Munich, I don’t think we are favourites. My target is West Ham in three days. If people say we are favourites, we have to accept it, but a team who, in their whole history, has been to a semi-final once? OK, they say it, we have to accept it,” he concluded.