Simply over a yr after Recreation Zero, Atalanta is again within the knockout spherical of the Champions League.
Final yr’s match, towards Valencia in close by Milan on Feb. 19, was the most important within the membership’s historical past and a 3rd of Bergamo’s inhabitants made the brief journey to San Siro for what turned out to be a 4-1 victory.
A short while later, navy vehicles have been driving coffins out of Bergamo as a result of the crematorium could not sustain because the small metropolis turned one of many epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.
The match was dubbed Recreation Zero due to the unfold of the illness that adopted each in northern Italy and in Spain.
Greater than 40,000 followers contained in the stadium enthusiastically celebrated every of Atalanta’s 4 objectives that day the final time the group performed in entrance of its personal supporters.
On Wednesday, Atalanta will host Actual Madrid within the first leg of the spherical of 16 in an empty Gewiss Stadium, which has been newly renovated.
It actually takes quite a bit away from us, Atalanta ahead Luis Muriel mentioned.
I imagine that for the folks of Bergamo, not having the ability to be right here at these nice occasions particularly taking part in in our personal stadium and never like final yr once we performed in Milan is a superb disappointment.
These moments ought to actually be shared with them. They’ve all the time been near a group that for therefore a few years all the time fought for the decrease locations. It is unhappy not to have the ability to play these matches with followers.
There’s a huge hole between 13-time European champion Actual Madrid and Atalanta, which is making solely its second look within the competitors. However Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini believes that might assist his group.
We now have the keenness, he mentioned.
We do not have their behavior of taking part in these video games however they’ve performed towards extra well-known groups than us.
For us, it stays an occasion. We now have some further motivation.
Atalanta has performed nicely towards extra storied opposition earlier than. The group beat Liverpool at Anfield within the group stage of this yr’s competitors and was additionally minutes away from beating Paris Saint-Germain in final yr’s quarterfinals.
Actual Madrid traveled to Bergamo with a squad decimated by accidents. Ahead Karim Benzema didn’t recuperate in time and remained in Spain, together with Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard, Marcelo, Dani Carvajal, Fede Valverde, Rodrygo Goes, Alvaro Odriozola and Eder Militao.
We now have to be very cautious, as a result of with all of the absences that Actual has I’m satisfied that we are going to discover a group that’s much more alert and much more targeted, Gasperini mentioned.
Actual is among the strongest groups on the earth. I am unable to actually say how large a spot there’s with us percentage-wise, however I can say we’ve got all the time given one thing extra in these sort of video games and stepped up a stage.
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