Atletico Eye European Redemption As They Lock Horns With Real Madrid
The game sees last season’s finalists go head to head again with Atletico out for revenge for the painful defeat they suffered in the penalty shootout, which came just two years after Sergio Ramos scored a late equalizer against them in the 2014 final, which Real went on to win in injury time.
The first leg comes less than a month after the 1-1 draw between the two neighbors in the Liga Santander, which would be a good result for Atletico if it were repeated on Tuesday night.
However, Atletico coach Diego Simeone no doubt remembers the 3-0 defeat Real Madrid inflicted on his side in the first league meeting and this is a tie that is unlikely to be decided in the first 90 minutes.
Atletico travel across town with Yannick Carrasco likely to miss out after damaging his shoulder a week ago and with a serious doubt over who will play at right back. Juanfran Torres and Sime Vrsaljko are both likely to miss out through injury, while Jose Gimenez, who had been covering for their absence effectively, suffered from a groin injury during Saturday’s 5-0 win away to Las Palmas.
Real Madrid are still without the injured Pepe and Gareth Bale, with Nacho Fernandez and Sergio Ramos likely to play in central defense.
The big question over Zidane’s team selection is who will cover for Bale, with Isco, who has been in exceptional form recently, the favorite after he was rested against Valencia on Saturday.
The 25-year-old is currently in talks over a new contract and his inclusion would be an extra motivation to put pen to paper before the end of the season, however, Marco Asensio, another who has been playing well, and James Rodriguez are other options to partner Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Madrid attack for a game where a lot more than local pride is at stake.