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Atletico look to book last 8 spot in Champions League

English.news.cn   2014-03-10 20:01:34

MADRID, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Atletico Madrid are 90 minutes away from booking a place in the last 8 of the quarter-finals of the Champions League when they entertain AC Milan in the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday night.

Atletico took a 1-0 advantage into the game and after impressing in the San Siro the Spanish side has to be favorite to qualify, especially given that Milan are currently in crisis in their domestic competition, as highlighted by a 1-0 defeat to Udinese on Saturday.

Coach Clarence Seedorf, who spent time playing for Real Madrid, rested several key players at the weekend and will play his strongest possible side in the Calderon in a match which will determine the remainder of the season for his club.

Meanwhile former Real Madrid winger Robinho will start for Milan, along with the talented, but at times controversial Mario Balotelli, who on a good day is able to save the tie for Milan.

Atletico meanwhile will also be at full strength and with their morale strengthened after a 2-0 win away to Celta Vigo on Saturday night, which lifted them above FC Barcelona in the Primera Liga table.

Diego Costa, along with Diego Godin and Arda Turam, were all suspended at the weekend, which means they will be fresh for Tuesday night and Atletico coach will be looking at Godin to help ensure his side keep a clean sheet, while looking at Costa to wreck his usual havoc in attack.

Although David Villa scored twice on Saturday night to show that he still has an instinct to score vital goals, the fact is that he now lacks the mobility that Costa offers. The Brazilian born striker is able to work both wings, pulling central defenders out of position and opening space for players such as Turam or Raul Garcia to exploit through the middle.

If you add to that the ease with which he has scored goals this campaign, it is not hard to see why he has become his side's most important player.

Many expected Atletico to run out of steam as the season progressed, but apart from one bad performance away to Osasuna at the end of February that has not been the case.

Simeone has built a side that has power and talent in attack and which is tremendously difficult to break down in midfield and defense. It could be that players such as Gabi Fernandez and Godin play on the limit of the law on occasions, but from Atletico's point of view that only means their rivals struggle for fluidity.

With Milan struggling for form Tuesday promises to see a low scoring game and don't be surprised if it is decided by set pieces.

Editor: Tang Danlu
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