Champions League

Hats off to Hateboer and Ilicic as Atalanta pair excel in Champions League

The Italian side secured the biggest win of the round so far, defeating Valencia 4-1 in Milan

11:35pm on Wednesday 19th February 2020
Martin Macdonald
Hans Hateboer
DM (R) - Atalanta - 26 yrs
Feb 19, 2020

Atalanta lost their first three games in the Champions League group stage, only to find themselves in the last-16, where they made a real statement on Wednesday by demolishing Valencia 4-1.

Hans Hateboer was their best player, and the best player in this week's action, as he caused mayhem with his bombing runs down the right wing.

It was him who opened the scoring 16 minutes in after finding himself as the furthest player forward to smuggle a strike over the line from close range after a superb cross from Alejandro Gomez.

He doubled his lead to make it four just after the hour mark, galloping into space after a lovely flick from Josip Ilicic to run through on goal and smash a strike past the keeper.

He enjoyed 66 touches in the game, five of which came inside the opposition box which is impressive for a wing-back.

The hard work he put in shouldn't go unnoticed, either, as he made six ball recoveries and five clearances.

Josip Iličić
F, AM (C) - Atalanta - 32 yrs
Feb 19, 2020

Regular viewers of Serie A will realise just how magical Josip Ilicic has been for Atalanta this season.

Against Valencia, he converted his form to Europe with another outstanding display for La Dea, scoring the second goal of the game in the first half with a lashed right-footed strike into the top corner after a glorious touch on the edge of the box.

His command of the ball was exemplary, as he completed 47/50 passes to team-mates and had 79 touches in possession, while making eight ball recoveries.

Twenty-one of the aforementioned pass tally were sent into the final third.

Erling Haaland
S (C) - Dortmund - 19 yrs
Feb 18, 2020

Erling Haaland continued his cracking Champions League form this season, albeit with a different club, as he banged in two for Dortmund against PSG on Tuesday.

It was perhaps not the high-scoring affair that most people predicted, but the young Norwegian displayed a hunger for goals and a hunger to work hard, putting himself about the PSG defence.

He would eventually break the deadlock 69 minutes in with a true striker's goal to poke a finish home from close range.

His second, however, was sensational. After allowing the pass from Giovanni Reyna to come across his body, he proceeds to rifle a stinging left-footed strike high into the top left corner, with the goalkeeper left with no chance.

In terms of passing, he gave the ball away just three times.

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