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The final Madrid derby in the Vicente Calderón...

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21.04.2017

And there we have it: Real Madrid and Atlético will play each other in the semi-finals of the Champions League, first at the Bernabéu on May 2 and with the return leg at the Calderón on May 10 – the final Madrid derby at the venerable stadium. For either side it will a badge of honour more to have beaten their neighbor to earn a place in the final in Cardiff at the other’s expense. The footballing fates occasionally throw up this sort of surprise. We at AS ran a poll the day before the draw and a majority of Atlético fans preferred the prospect of facing Madrid in the last four rather than in another final that would carry such unpleasant precedents for the red-and-white half of Madrid. Real fans preferred the other idea of another final against their city rivals, and not just because of the two that have gone before I imagine.

A lot of people think that Atlético have more chances to beat Madrid over two games than one. What Diego Simeone would have liked was for the first leg to be played at the Calderón. Not everybody feels the same about two-legged affairs, but for Simeone’s methods it would have been preferable. That way he would not have to take risks at home, where even a 0-0 draw would be a decent result, because a 1-1 in the return leg would be sufficient. Simeone is a specialist on not giving opposition sides anything for free and punishing the slightest mistake, which sooner or later inevitable will come. Madrid on the other hand would have preferred the........

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