Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 2nd 2017 Contents sports A45
Tuesday, May 2, 2017 guardian.co.tt
another Madrid derby
MADRID---The Champions League semifinals
begin with Spanish rivals Real Madrid and At-
letico Madrid meeting for the fourth consecutive
time in the competition, while Monaco will try
to keep Juventus from returning to the final for
the second time in three seasons.
Juventus lost the final to Barcelona two years ago,
and Real lifted the trophy last year in a repeat final
Real also beat the city rival in the 2014 final and
In this March 19 file photo, Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres, right, controls the
ball next to Sevilla's Vicente Iborra during the La Liga soccer match between
Atletico Madrid and Sevilla at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid. AP PHOTO
the quarterfinals in 2015.
REAL MADRID vs ATLETICO MADRID
With a team that has looked vulnerable in recent
matches, Real hosts Atletico looking to extend its
dominance over its crosstown rival and reach the
final for the third time in four seasons.
Real's regular starters have struggled going into
today's game at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium,
where Zinedine Zidane's team needed a late goal to
beat Valencia at home in the Spanish league over the
It conceded late in a loss to Barcelona last week and
needed extra time to eliminate Bayern Munich in the
Champions League quarter-finals two weeks ago.
But Real has a winning record against Atletico in
European competitions, beating its rival in a penalty
shootout in last season's final to secure a record 11th
European Cup title. Two years earlier, it beat Atletico
after extra time in the final.
In the quarterfinals in 2015, it edged Atletico 1-0 on
aggregate before losing to Juventus in the semifinals.
Zidane, who won the Champions League as a player
with Real, has a chance to lift the trophy for the second
straight time as a coach, less than 18 months since
making his debut as a manager.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone will have to find a
way to stop Cristiano Ronaldo and Real's other stars
to earn another shot at the trophy. A triumph this
season would establish Atletico as a top European
club, and silence critics who say the team's recent
successes have been flukes. Atletico also lost the 1974
final, that time to Bayern Munich.
"It will be a very complex game," Simeone said. "We
will need to take advantage of our chances."
Simeone's stout defense will be key again this sea-
son, and it has been peaking recently with only four
goals conceded in 12 matches, although injuries to
players such as Jose Gimenez and Juanfran Torres
could pose a challenge.
In attack, Simeone will count on French duo Kevin
Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann, who have had an
up-and-down season so far.
"We are excited about our chances," Atletico mid-
fielder Saul Niguez said. "We know it's going to be
difficult for both teams."
MONACO vs JUVENTUS
Monaco is looking to make it to the Champions
League final for the first time since 2004, and it found
an ideal sparring partner in Toulouse this weekend
ahead of tomorrow's first leg against Juventus.
Monaco played its best French league match in a
month to win 3-1 against a well-organised team.
Unstoppable in recent weeks, teenage striker Kylian
Mbappe again stole the headlines as he scored his 18th
goal in his last 18 games.
Radamel Falcao was not on the scoresheet, but was
a threat throughout. Mbappe and Falcao have com-
bined for 52 goals this season in a thrilling partnership.
Monaco's best asset this season has been its attack-
ing potency, with 146 goals in all competitions, but the
French faces its sternest test so far against Juventus.
Monaco, which lost the 2004 final to FC Porto, is
enjoying its best run in the competition since being
eliminated by Juventus in the quarterfinals in 2015.
The Italian champion is trying to reach its second
final in three years, and win its first title in more than
Juventus looked strangely lackluster during Friday's
2-2 draw at Atalanta in Serie A, with coach Massi-
miliano Allegri admitting that it wasn't the usual
performance he expected from his players.
But the test against a determined young side per-
fectly set up Juventus for the trip to Monaco.
Juventus will be without suspended Germany mid-
fielder Sami Khedira. (AP)
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