Champions League quarter-final: Time to settle old scores in Madrid
Last season’s Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid meet for the seventh time this season in Tuesday’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg, with revenge in mind for both.sports Updated: Apr 14, 2015 19:24 IST
Last season’s Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid meet for the seventh time this season in Tuesday’s Champions League quarterfinal first leg, with revenge in mind for both. This is a rematch of the 4-1 defeat Madrid dealt Atletico in last season’s final when Cristiano Ronaldo’s club increased its record haul of European Cups to 10.
But don’t forget Madrid were losing that derby until Sergio Ramos equalised in stoppage time. However, the tables have been turned this season as Atletico have won four and drawn two of the six meetings so far this season.
That run has included two aggregate victories over two legs in the Spanish Supercup and the Copa del Rey.
Yet, it was their last encounter in La Liga in February that was the most embarrassing for Real as Atletico romped to their biggest victory in a Madrid derby for 28 years in a 4-0 rout.
“The last result against Atletico is a motivating factor for us,” said Real boss Carlo Ancelotti.
“It will be a different game, but difficult as it always is against Atletico. We come into the game in good form, we are motivated and we will give everything we have. I don’t have any doubt that it will be an intense game.”
However, unlike that most recent meeting at the Vicente Calderon when they were without five first-team regulars, Real are at full strength for the first time in five months. James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos return from suspension after missing Saturday’s 3-0 win over Eibar which moved Real back to within two points of Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
Meanwhile, Gareth Bale returned to training on Sunday and is expected to fit to start.
Ahead of hosting the game, Atletico have received a boost of their own with the news that Mario Mandzukic will be available after overcoming an ankle problem which kept him out of their last two games.
Mandzukic, who has netted five goals in eight appearances in Europe's elite club competition this season, has had an ankle problem for several weeks and was replaced in the starting lineup by Fernando Torres for Atletico's last two La Liga games.
Torres will likely start on the bench, with Mandzukic partnering in-form France forward Antoine Griezmann, who struck twice in Saturday's 2-2 La Liga draw at Malaga, in attack.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone said he and his players were solely focused on Tuesday's game and would not be distracted by previous clashes.
"I am not winding back the clock and looking at past games because it will be a new and different match, part of a quarter-final tie, which is not the same as a Champions League final," Simeone said. "We will be facing a great opponent on a great run of form in the domestic league and who are performing strongly in the Champions League," the Argentine added.
The return leg is at Real's Bernabeu stadium on April 22.
First Published: Apr 14, 2015 18:09 IST