Valencia – Atalanta Bergamo: Chaotic Settings Trigger Goal Fest In Atalanta’s Umpteenth Exploit (3-4)
A chaotic game saw both Atalanta and Valencia struggle to carry out their game plans, eventually falling victim to individual mistakes that set off a relentless shower of goals. Josip Iličić once more stood out as the leading force, with four goals to his name carrying Atalanta into the quarter-finals.
Tactical analysis and match report by Kareem Bianchi.
A 4-1 win in the first leg should be enough for any team to enter the return leg with a comfortable cushion to fall on regardless of the result.
While this unwritten rule might be valid for any other competition, the Champions League has proven over the years to be outright unpredictable, with comebacks completed from even the most unexpected and unfavorable positions.
However, the game being played behind closed doors did not encourage the settings typically associated with a comeback, that is roaring fans in a rumbling atmosphere. So as Atalanta looked to secure their qualification to the quarter-finals, Valencia were faced with the arduous task of building up an environment capable of carrying them to a comeback.
Albert Celades set up his team in the usual 4-4-2 formation, making three changes to his side’s eleven. Gabriel Paulista, still suspended, was replaced by Francis Coquelin in central defense, while Denis Cheryshev and Alessandro Florenzi were displaced by Rodrigo and Ferràn Torres.
Giampiero Gasperini also unsurprisingly stuck to his standard 3-4-3 shape. Two changes were made by the Atalanta manager, with Pierluigi Gollini and Duván Zapata benched for Marco Sportiello . . .