Ferland Mendy scored a stunning late winner as Real Madrid clinched a hardworking last-16 first-leg victory against 10-man Atalanta.
Real looked like being left frustrated by a well-organised home side until Mendy curled in with four minutes left.
Atalanta’s Remo Freuler was sent off after just 17 minutes for denying Mendy a clear goalscoring opportunity.
The depleted hosts did not have a single shot on target and now must score in the return leg on 16 March.
Real were without a number of key first-team players through injury including captain Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema, Eden Hazard and Dani Carvajal and it showed for almost the entire contest.
With Atalanta sitting back after Freuler’s early red card for a cynical trip on Mendy, Zinedine Zidane’s side failed to create clear-cut chances.
Isco, playing as the furthest man forward, saw a turn and shot deflect wide, while Marco Asensio’s header and free-kick were comfortable for Pierluigi Gollini to deal with.
But with time running out, full-back Mendy earned his side a priceless away goal with a sublime curling effort from 25 yards to put Real in charge of the tie.
Atalanta will feel disappointed by conceding so late having displayed a solid defensive showing but remain without a victory at home in the Champions League this term.
Zidane, meanwhile, will be eyeing a 13th knockout-tie triumph from 14 attempts after Real progressed from the group stages for a record 24th consecutive campaign.
How to play
Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the game. The rater will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.
Rating range key = Give it up = Pure perfection
- 3MaehleSubstituted forPalominoat 85′minutes
- 15de Roon
- 11FreulerBooked at 17mins
- 8GosensBooked at 71mins
- 91ZapataSubstituted forPasalicat 30′minutes
- 9MurielSubstituted forIlicicat 56′minutesSubstituted forMalinovskiyat 86′minutes
- 59Al Miranchuk
- 23MendyBooked at 55mins
- 14CasemiroBooked at 23mins
- 11AsensioSubstituted forArribasat 76′minutes
- 22IscoSubstituted forDuroat 76′minutes
- 20Vinícius JúniorSubstituted forMarianoat 57′minutes
- Tobias Stieler
Match ends, Atalanta 0, Real Madrid 1.
Second Half ends, Atalanta 0, Real Madrid 1.
Foul by Sergio Arribas (Real Madrid).
Robin Gosens (Atalanta) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Hugo Duro (Real Madrid).
Rafael Tolói (Atalanta) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Offside, Real Madrid. Mariano tries a through ball, but Lucas Vázquez is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Casemiro (Real Madrid) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Mariano (Real Madrid) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Lucas Vázquez with a cross.
Foul by Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid).
Matteo Pessina (Atalanta) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Casemiro (Real Madrid) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the left. Assisted by Ferland Mendy.
Goal! Atalanta 0, Real Madrid 1. Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Luka Modric following a corner.
Substitution, Atalanta. Ruslan Malinovskiy replaces Josip Ilicic.
Substitution, Atalanta. José Luis Palomino replaces Joakim Maehle.
Corner, Real Madrid. Conceded by Rafael Tolói.
Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Mario Pasalic (Atalanta).
Attempt blocked. Hugo Duro (Real Madrid) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Casemiro.
Attempt missed. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Mariano.