Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini spoke in Bergamo after the first match against Real Madrid in the eighth finals of the Champions League of a bitter defeat (0-1). “We couldn’t play our own game,” he sulked. The Italian coach of midfielder Marten de Roon, among others, was referring to the red card that the Swiss Remo Freuler received in the 17th minute for a charge on Ferland Mendy, the man who scored the goal in the 86th minute.
“That red card on our side has ruined the game,” Gasperini complained. “I thought it was heavily penalized. But with ten men we could not play as we like to do. We will never know what the result would have been if we had just finished the game with eleven men.”
Gasperini mourned the late goal of Mendy, who hit target with a viewed shot in the final phase. “We seemed to get the final signal 0-0, but unfortunately Mendy’s right foot thought otherwise. In retrospect, a 1-0 defeat is not even that bad if you look at how the game went for us. And our starting position can be good. “We only have to win the return in Spain and that is a trusted assignment for my team, because we always and everywhere play to win.”