LNTUP

Real Madrid vs Atletico Madrid Match Preview

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Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid will go head to head again as Champions League semi-finals kick-off on Tuesday. A fixture that has been played in each of the last three edition of the competition, it promises to be a fascinating contest.

Real Madrid have the upper hand having won the tie on all the three occassions including the finals of 2014 (Lisbon) and 2016 (Milan). However, in the pre-match press conference, Los Blancos coach Zinedine Zidane has dismissed the perception that the past victories over Atlético in Champions League would have an influence. “We aren’t the favourites as this is a semi-final. You can’t dwell on what has happened before.”

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Real Madrid will be missing Gareth Bale as the Welshman is still recovering from his calf injury. Isco is set to start the game ahead of James Rodríguez and Marco Asensio. Raphaël Varane is expected to partner Sergio Ramos in the heart of the defence with Nacho taking his place on the bench. Pepe is out with an injury.

Real Madrid are renowned for their European comebacks but Zidane has urged his players to approach the match assuming there will be no second leg. “We must assume there’s no second leg and play well from the first to the last minute of the match,” the Frenchman said. Real Madrid have struggled to keep clean sheets this season and Zidane admitted that he was aware of the issue. “It is true that we are conceding. We are unable to keep clean sheets like we did last year. But the important thing for us is to score one more than our opponents.”

Atlético Madrid will be eager to avenge their previous defeats at the hands of their mighty neighbours and the Los Colchoneros will be keen to salvage a victory at the Santiago Bernabéu. “It will be a complex match,” remarked Atlético Madrid boss Diego Simeone at his pre-match press conference.

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Atlético have been impenetrable at home, keeping 18 clean sheets in their last 21 Champions League matches at Vicente Calderón and the Argentine coach said that away goals could be important to settle the tie. The Rojiblancos, however, have been tormented by injuries. Juanfran is set to miss the game due to thigh problem. José Giménez, Šime Vrsaljko and Miguel Ángel Moyà will not feature either as a consequence of their injuries.

Yannick Carrasco is doubtful with the Belgian picking up a collarbone injury in the game against Villarreal. Nevertheless, Simeone was in confident mood and dismissed any fears regarding the notable absentees. “We will try and be strong, and take the game to a place which is more comfortable for us.”
As the two teams are well familiar with each other inside out, it is expected to be an intriguing battle between the two Madrid clubs.

Kick-off time: 18:45 (GMT), 20:45 (CET), 00:15 (IST).
Venue: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid.
Available TV: FOX Sports (USA), Antena 3 (Spain), Ten 2 (India).
Available streaming: FOX Sports 2GO (USA), Fubo.TV

Possible line-ups

Real Madrid: Navas, Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo, Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.

Atletico Madrid: Oblak, Hernández, Godín, Savić, Filipe Luís, Ñíguez, Koke, Gabi, Carrasco, Griezmann, Gameiro.

Form:

Real Madrid- W W L W W
Atlético Madrid- W D W L W

Previous meeting: Real Madrid Real Madrid 1-1 Atlético Madrid (8 April, 2017)