Real Madrid – Atalanta Bergamo: Zidane’s Tweak Gives His Team Platform To Shine (3-1)
Entering the second leg with a slim lead, Real Madrid stuttered against Atalanta’s 5-2-2-1 pressing setup. But the muscle memory of their stars on a big European night proved too much to handle. With a structural change that tilted the match, Zinedine Zidane made sure the big names delivered, sending the home team into the next round.
Tactical analysis and match report by Emmanuel Adeyemi-Abere.
Real Madrid have conformed to type in recent weeks. Only six points off of Atlético Madrid, their displays have left much to be desired. Yet, losing only one game in the league since the start of December, they continue to find results. Against a tricky outfit in Atalanta Bergamo, they now hoped to make their way through by hook or by crook.
Atalanta's displays in 2021 have only given more weight to the brilliance of the project in Bergamo. Losing talisman Papu Gómez, the side bounced back from a slow start in the league to climb into the top four. Likewise, going down to ten men in the first leg did little to dampen their spirit, only falling behind late in the game. Never relenting to adversity, they hoped to mount a famous comeback.
Zidane opted for a 5-3-2 system, moving away from the usual 4-3-3 setup he used in the first leg. He also made three tweaks in personnel to that match, all down the spine of the side. Sergio Ramos came back to command the side from the back, while Karim Benzema led the line upfront. Between them, Casemiro missed out, leaving a spot for Federico Valverde in the midfield.
Atalanta manager Gian Piero Gasperini set his . . .