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Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid can now turn their attention to the Champions League
Wednesday’s spectacular European evening for Real Madrid. It has been a season of comebacks for Carlo Ancelotti’s side in the Champions League, with dramatic turnarounds against Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 and Chelsea in the quarter-finals.
Neither of these occasions could compare to Wednesday’s drama-filled clash. Trailing 5-3 on aggregate to Manchester City after 179 minutes of a 180-minute tie, Madrid somehow scored twice to force extra time and then grabbed the winner early on in the additional half an hour of play.
This team is not dead or buried in Champions League. Madrid feel like it is their destiny to win the competition, which they have done a record 13 times before. Given that they have already wrapped up the La Liga title – their lead at the summit of the standings is 15 points with only 12 left to play for – Madrid have the advantage of being able to start their preparations for the final immediately. Liverpool and Manchester City are still at odds for the Premier League title. Liverpool has no such luxury.
Madrid wouldn’t be pleased for their domestic campaign not to end. They could still reach 93 points, which would be their joint-highest tally since Jose Mourinho’s side hit treble figures a decade ago. Ancelotti won’t want to see his team lose their momentum before the biggest match of the season.
The Madrid derby is a tough game and los Blancos are going to be focusing on this task. Madrid may be able to take advantage of their local bragging rights and give their opponents a serious blow in their quest for Champions League qualification. Although the title race may be finished, there are still many things to win in La Liga over the remaining weeks.
Atletico Madrid Still Have Much to Learn in The Ongoing Top-Four Race
Atletico Madrid was only marginally defeated in the Champions League’s last eight. The tie ended in a draw of 0-0, but Diego Simeone’s team dominated a team many consider the top in Europe. Surprisingly, Atletico’s performance against Pep Guardiola was one of the bright spots in recent weeks.
The Colchoneros enter the derby with a poor domestic record. The Colchoneros have lost three out of four of their previous fixtures in Spain’s top flight, and only won one. Simeone’s team was beaten 2-0 by Athletic Bilbao in their last fixture, leaving them in an uncertain position to compete for the top four spots in La Liga. Atletico are still in second place, with Real Betis trailing by three points. Real Sociedad, Sevilla, and Madrid remain to be contested.
There have been issues at both ends. Atletico, long famed for the solidity of their backline, have conceded 41 goals in 34 games this term – only the 11th best record in the division. They have not scored enough to compensate for that increased leakiness: a return of 59 goals is second only to Madrid and Barcelona, but both those teams have also conceded fewer than Atletico.
Goals Could be at a Premium In Final Madrid Derby of Season
The derby tends to favor Madrid in recent years. The last 12 editions in La Liga have not produced a single Atletico victory, with their arch-rivals triumphing on five occasions. Madrid dominated Simeone’s team earlier in the season and won 2-0 before a cheering home crowd at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
Another striking feature in recent matches between the two sides is the lack of goals. Only two of the last 12 league derbies have featured three or more. They are usually low-scoring and tense affairs. There is no reason for this to change when two of the biggest clubs in London renew hostilities.
Atletico has a lot at stake in these final weeks. Simeone has made it clear to his players that it is important to keep things tight at the back, and avoid making mistakes. This will be especially true given the fact that his team have been scoring a lot lately.
Wednesday’s thrilling victory over Manchester City has taken a lot out of Madrid both physically and mentally. Ancelotti could have a subdued performance considering that the title race has already been won. This one is back under 2.5 goals.
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How to Watch Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid Information Teams Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain Time Sunday, 8 May 2022, 3. 00 PM EDT How to watch ESPN+