Real Madrid defender Ferland Mendy admitted he was unsure of how to score his first goal in European competition after giving the Merengues a crucial away strike against Atalanta on Wednesday.
The left-back scored the only goal in Madrid’s 1-0 win just four minutes to go after the visitors played almost the entire game with a one-man advantage due to an early red card for Remo Scratch.
A home loss means Atalanta have to score at least twice in Madrid if they hope to win the game without a penalty shootout.
What was said?
Amid the euphoria of sealing his team’s latest victory, Mendy confessed he was lost after seeing the ball enter.
“I didn’t even know how to celebrate because it was my very first European goal,” he told reporters after the final whistle.
Coach Zinedine Zidane, however, warned the tie was far from over.
“It took us a while, but we scored a very important goal. It’s a good result,” he said.
“Isco played a good game, we had a good result, but the tie is not over yet.
“We played a very strong team, defensively they played well. And the most important thing is the victory. We didn’t concede and we know there are a lot of injuries, but we don’t give up a lot of chances. ”
The big picture
The past two seasons have seen Mendy take center stage at left-back, a place that was the personal property of Brazilian ace Marcelo at the Santiago Bernabeu for more than a decade.
Marcelo has been limited to just 10 appearances in all competitions this season and was not on the bench for Wednesday’s game as he continues his recovery from a muscle injury.
Mendy, who joined Madrid from Lyon in the summer of 2019, now appears to be Zidane’s undisputed starter on the left side of the defense, and recent transfer gossip suggests Marcelo will be allowed to leave at the end of the season, with Juventus. one of the clubs touted as a possible destination for the 32-year-old.