Atletico ready to make leaky rivals Real wilt
Sky Sports 5, 7.45pm
Real Madrid have beaten neighbours Atletico in two of the past three Champions League finals but defeating them in 90 minutes has proven difficult and it may be so again when the old rivals meet at the Vicente Calderon tonight.
The only Real success in regulation time in the last 13 derbies came in a Champions League tie at the Bernabeu in 2015 with Javier Hernandez’s goal on 88 minutes breaking ten-man Atletico hearts.
Breaking Atletico hearts is what Real do best having won last season’s Champions League final on penalties and the 2014 edition in extra-time but Zinedine Zidane’s side are not in the greatest shape heading into this clash. Sergio Ramos and Karim Benzema are being rushed back, key midfield cogs Casemiro and Toni Kroos are injured as is Euro 2016 star Pepe.
Despite being top of La Liga, Real have kept only three clean sheets and in two Champions League away matches five goals have been conceded which simply isn’t good enough.
Atletico are six points behind their more illustrious rivals but no longer suffer from an inferiority complex under shrewd tactician Diego Simeone.
Bayern Munich have already suffered defeat at the Calderon this season, while Atletico went to Barcelona and got a deserved draw so they have little to fear from Real.
Antoine Griezmann seems to have overcome injury but even if he is out Simeone’s strength has always been to make the team stronger than any one individual and Real may wilt in one of Europe’s most hostile stadiums.
Possible line-ups – Atletico (4-4-2): Oblak; Juanfran, Savic, Godin, Juanfran; Saul, Gabi, Koke, Carrasco; Griezmann, Gameiro. Subs: Torres, Correa, Thomas Partey, Tiago, Vrsaljko, Gaitan, Gimenez.
Real Madrid (4-3-3): Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kovacic, Modric, Isco; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo. Subs: Asencio, Rodriguez, Vazquez, Nacho, Danilo, Coentrao, Mariano.
Atletico Madrid draw no bet
2pts 3-4 Betfair