Atletico Madrid and Juventus set to clash horns


Atletico Madrid host Juventus in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League knock-out tie on Wednesday night as both sides target European success.

The Spanish side qualified for the knock-out stages after finishing second in Group A, level on points with Borussia Dortmund.

Atletico have reached the Round of 16 stage in five of the previous six seasons, facing AC Milan, Bayer Leverkusen twice, PSV Eindhoven and Juventus this term.

Diego Simeone will be hopeful of guiding Madrid to their fifth quarter-final in the UEFA Champions League in six seasons. The Spanish giants were knocked out at the group stage last season; however, they have progressed further in the competition in three of their previous four quarter-final appearances.

Although, hoping to stop Simeone is Juventus. La Vecchia sit atop the Serie A table following an unbeaten League campaign where they have drawn just three times.

The Italians have reached the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the sixth time in seven seasons but have only progressed further through the competition in four of their previous Round of 16 appearances.

Of the Serie A side’s six most recent appearances at this stage of the competition, they have reached the final on two occasions.

Juventus’ £99.2million summer signing Cristiano Ronaldo is the main goal threat having scored 17 goals and claiming six assists in his debut season in Italy.

Paulo Dybala is likely to start for the Italian side despite questions over his ability to play alongside to-scorer Ronaldo. In fixtures when the duo have both been eligible to play, Dybala has been used as a substitute on eight occasions

The pair both scored in Juventus’ victory on Friday, but manager Massimiliano Allegri joked at his pre-match news conference: “Dybala is playing. Are you happy? Can I go?”

Former Juve striker Alvaro Morata, currently on-loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea, could feature against his former employers.

“Alvaro Morata has grown a lot since he was with us,” said Allegri. “He is a very dangerous player in one-off games. Tomorrow, we have to try to control the game and stay attentive.”

Antoine Griezmann represents Madrid’s main source of goals with ten to his name already this season, along with seven assists; in addition, the Spanish side have form against Italian opposition under Simeone’s rein with an unbeaten record of four wins and two draws.


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When not busy covering local news for EssexLive, Matt Lee can be found in the press box at Portman Road covering Ipswich Town's return to the Championship and push for the Premier League.

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