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Luca Bruno Ferland Mendy, right, celebrates with Raphael Varane.
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Real Madrid in sight of Champions League quarters after controversial red card
Ferland Mendy scored late as the Spanish side beat 10-man Atalanta.

FERLAND MENDY scored late as Real Madrid beat 10-man Atalanta 1-0 on Wednesday to close in on the Champions League quarter-finals.

The French left-back’s strike in Bergamo came four minutes from time in a last 16 first leg game which the hosts played a man down for over 70 minutes as Zinedine Zidane’s side hold the advantage heading into the second leg in Madrid on March 16.

Atalanta had attacked early but the game was transformed when Swiss midfielder Remo Freuler was harshly sent off on 17 minutes for tripping Mendy at the edge of the penalty area.

Gian Piero Gasperini’s woes continued with forward Duvan Zapata limping off after half an hour with a muscular problem with midfielder Mario Pasalic coming off the bench.

Spanish midfielder Isco got a rare start up front for injury-hit Real Madrid playing alongside Marco Asensio and Vinicius.

The 13-time European champions were without striker Karim Benzema due to an ankle problem with an injury list also including Sergio Ramos, Eden Hazard and Dani Carvajal.

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