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Madrid the capital of European football, but don't expect a 'classic' in the final

English.news.cn   2014-05-01 16:26:48

MADRID, May 1 (Xinhua) -- The city of Madrid is steeling itself for what could be the most important sporting event in the city's history, even though it will be played in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon.

Atletico Madrid's stunning 3-1 win away to Chelsea on Wednesday night set up a Madrid derby for the final of the Champions League on May 24.

It is the first time the two sides have even met in a European final and the game will see Real Madrid chase their 10th European Cup, while Atletico, who are playing their first Champions League final since 1974, seek to write their name on the trophy for the first time.

Should Atletico win in Lisbon, that would make Madrid the first European city to have two teams that have conquered the most important trophy in the European game.

Both sides have been impressive en-route to the final with Real Madrid knocking out German trio, Schalke 04, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, a run which culminated with their incredible 4-0 win in Munich on Wednesday.

Atletico have been no less impressive, beating Zenit St Petersburg, Porto and Chelsea on their way to the big game. While Real Madrid have used the pace of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Angel Di Maria to launch furious counter-attacks, Atletico have relied on playing as a unit, being hard to break down and then using the power of Diego Costa and the skill of Arda Turam to do the damage.

It will be a massive contrast in styles, and if previous meetings this season are anything to go by, possibly not the most open of games. Atletico and Real Madrid have played four times this campaign with Atletico winning once, Real twice (in the Copa del Rey) and one 2-2 draw.

The two league meetings saw exhibitions of subterranean football with foul, dives and general bad-temper in all parts of the pitch and while things cooled down in the Kings Cup, due partly to Atletico looking tired, the signs are it will be a difficult final to referee.

That final is still three weeks away and both clubs will have to put it into the back of their minds until the end of the season as both are fighting for the BBVA Primera Liga title.

Atletico have a six point lead over their neighbors, who have a game in hand, and a four point advantage over Barcelona and could, in theory be Champions this Sunday if Real Madrid lose and Barca fail to win.

That is unlikely to happen, but it is just another topic to throw into the debate which will be held in every bar in the capital over the coming weeks and then in the exodus of fans to Lisbon.

For three weeks at least, forget Rio, because Madrid is the capital of the footballing world.

Editor: Zhu Ningzhu
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