Wednesday UCL Preview: Real Madrid look to finish the job against rivals Atletico

Holders Real Madrid take a big lead to the Vicente Calderon, as they look to pile the misery on rivals Atletico Madrid and seal their spot in a second consecutive Champions League final.

Cristiano Ronaldo stole the show in the first leg last Tuesday as his 47th career hat-trick all but sealed Real Madrid’s place in a third final in four seasons with a 3-0 win over Diego Simeone’s side.

Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick to give Real Madrid a 3-0 lead
image: itv.com

Real Madrid have now won all their past four games against Atletico in European football and they will hope to make it five in a row against their rivals, as they look to move just one win away from becoming the first team to retain the Champions League.

No team has ever overturned more than a two-goal deficit in the semi-finals, but  Atletico will be hoping to restore some pride in what will be the final Madrid derby at the Vicente Calderon, before their move to the revamped Estadio La Peineta next season.

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone said his side have not given up hope they can pull off one of the greatest comebacks in the Champions League and will keep on fighting until the very last-minute.

“We believe in ourselves and our weapons,” said the Argentinian.

“We won’t change for this game. We know what we’re capable of. I have full confidence in my players and I am sure we will do things well. We will defend well, go from minute to minute and look to create chances.

“We are fighting at a stage where we are proud to be: the semis of the Champions League. We will try to do something that is going to be very difficult, but we won’t give up until the ref blows the final whistle.”

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane knows Atletico will be out to try to derail his side’s game plan, but is confident this side are focused on finishing the job and move one step closer to creating history.

“Atletico will try to stop us doing our thing,” said the 44-year-old.

“It is the business end of the season where everything is up from grabs and this club loves to be in these situations. Every game is a final and this is one. We are going to play our game, we can’t do anything else.

“This club’s history is something you can’t shy away from, it helps us prepare for big occasions. We and our fans know this is a big club but then we have to show it too.”

Cristiano Ronaldo will look to add to his 103 Champions League goals
image: mirror.co.uk

Team News

Former Real Madrid man Juanfran is expected to return at right-back for Atletico Madrid after overcoming a thigh problem, as Sime Vrsaljko is struggling to be fit for the second leg following a knee injury.

Defenders Jose Gimenez is lacking match fitness following a groin injury so is unlikely to play a part in the Madrid Derby, while midfielder Augusto Fernandez is a long-term absentee after suffering ligament damage in his right knee.

Real Madrid are without right-back Dani Carvajal for their final trip to the Vicente Calderon, after the Spanish international went off with a hamstring injury in last Tuesday’s first leg victory.

The away side are also still without Welsh winger Gareth Bale who will still ruled out with a calf injury, so Spaniard Isco will once again feature in Real Madrid’s attack alongside Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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