Three weeks ago, things didn’t go as planned for Atalanta when they hosted Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16.
Remo Freuler was controversially given his marching orders in the first half, and the hosts had to play with a man down for the rest of the night, and they almost escaped with a goalless draw, if it wasn’t for Ferland Mendy’s spectacular late strike.
Therefore, Los Merengues will enter the second leg as the favorites to seal a qualification at home, but the Orobici are not out of the equation just yet, and here are three reasons why they can still overturn the result.
Never an Inferior Side
Gian Piero Gasperini has successfully installed a certain mentality within his players, which allows them to play on-par against any side in the world.
We’ve seen this phenomenon in the Serie A against the likes of Juventus, Inter and Milan, and also in Europe against PSG, Liverpool and Manchester City.
During the first leg, Atalanta enjoyed a decent start to the match, and even when they had to play with 10-man, Madrid weren’t able to create much, despite having possession.
Therefore, La Dea have proven that they have the potential to topple any big side on their day.
Whilst most sides perform better at home, this isn’t necessarily the case for Atalanta, who seem to enjoy playing away from home.
This season, the Nerazzurri have so far failed to win a single home match from their four attempts in the Champions League. However, they have managed to win all of their three trips, including a 2-0 victory in Anfield, as well as a decisive win against Ajax in Amsterdam.
These curious stats should definitely grab the attention of Zinedine Zidane.
Gasperini’s defenses can leak goals at times, but the team’s strategy is always to outscore the opponent, and the strikers usually deliver the goods upfront, which is pretty noticeable from the club’s results in the last few seasons.
Whilst playing away in Madrid, Atalanta only need to outscore Los Blancos by one goal to get through, as long as they score twice – which doesn’t sound like an impossible mission for Luis Muriel, Duvan Zapata and company.