Atalanta were the architects of their own destruction on Tuesday evening

Several minutes into Real Madrid’s Champions League round of 16 second leg against Atalanta on Tuesday night, the visitors were presented with a great opportunity.

Making one of those inside to outside runs as he often does, Robin Gosens managed to latch onto the end of Luis Muriel’s cross. However, despite being just a few yards out, the German failed to make solid contact and his shot was easily batted away by Thibaut Courtois.

If this strike had gone in, the game might have gone a little differently. It didn’t though and in the end Gosens chance, spurned with less than 180 seconds on the clock, would be one of the only times that Atalanta seriously threatened during the 90 minutes.

This was as easy a night as Real could have hoped for. Gosens’ was not the only visiting player in a charitable mood. From front to back, Atalanta’s passing was atrocious. Their infamous high press was also feeble. To Zinedine Zidane’s credit, his decision to switch to a deep, mutating back five played a role in unsettling Atalanta out of possession, but individual misjudgment was important as well. Continue reading

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