Path to Champions League final: How Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid got there

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As we gear up for the UEFA Champions League final this Saturday in Lisbon, let’s take a look back at how both Real and Atletico Madrid reached the final of Europe’s elite club competition.

Two teams from the same city have never squared off in the final before, as both Real and Atletico are the last two teams standing. Real Madrid are aiming to win a record tenth title, Atletico are searching for their first. The latter will be buoyed by their first La Liga title since ’96 arriving this season and head into the final full of confidence after an incredible run.

MORE: Latest UEFA Champions League news

Both have impressed throughout their UCL journey and have faced tricky tasks along the way, especially in the knockout stages. Between them, Atleti and Real have knocked off Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Chelsea among others and the teams from the Spanish capital truly deserve to battle it out for the famous trophy.

Here is a look back at how both teams fared en-route to the final, as we trace their path.

Real Madrid

Group Stages: Winners of Group B

Real won five of their six group games and drew the other as they hammered in 20 goals. The highest scorers in the tournament went wild.

Last 16: Beat Schalke 9-2 on aggregate

Real embarrassed Schalke with Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale putting on a clinic. Total domination.

Quarterfinal: Beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2 on aggregate

After a 3-0 win at the Santiago Bernabeu in the first leg, you thought the tie was dead and buried. Think again. Dortmund found some holes in Real’s defense and quickly went 2-0 up, however Madrid held on to book a fourth-straight semifinal berth.

Semifinal: Beat Bayern Munich 5-0 on aggregate

Another German team, another win for Real. This time the blitzed reigning champs Bayern and made Pep Guardiola’s tiki-taka style look silly. Pure pace on the counter tore the Bavarian’s apart as the Spaniards set up a chance to win their tenth UCL title.

Atletico Madrid

Group Stages: Winner of Group G

Atleti also won five and drew one of their group games as they eased into the knockout stages after conceding the fewest goals of any team.

Last 16: Beat AC Milan 5-1 on aggregate

Atletico went to the San Siro and scored late on through Diego Costa to take a 1-0 lead with them back to the Vicente Calderon. There they hammered AC and breezed through to the last eight.

Quarterfinal: Beat Barcelona 2-1 on aggregate

A nervous two games against Barca saw Atletico cause a huge shock with a tense 1-0 win at home in the second leg sealing their semifinal spot.

Semifinal: Beat Chelsea 3-1 on aggregate

A 0-0 draw at home to Chelsea, then falling 1-0 behind at Stamford Bridge in the first half of the second leg meant Atletico were up against it in London. Then they sparked into life and scored three unanswered goals to reach their final UCL final in over 40 years.

CCL wrap: FC Dallas disappoints; Club America struts (video)

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The CONCACAF Champions League returned Tuesday with Toronto FC’s 2-0 quarterfinal first leg win in Colorado, and a trio of ties began Wednesday across Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Tauro 1-0 FC Dallas

Veteran striker Edwin Aguilar scored a big goal, and goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane did plenty of good things as the Panamanian side struck a wild first blow against its MLS visitors.

Here’s a random fact underscoring how remarkable of a failure this would be for FC Dallas: Only six of Tauro’s roster members have their own Wikipedia page.

Deportivo Saprissa 1-5 Club America

Cecilio Dominguez and Mateus Uribe each bagged a brace, and Renato Ibarra also scored as the tournament’s top team sauntered into and out of Costa Rica on Wednesday. Club America has been to seven CCL finals, and one every single one.

Motagua vs. Club Tijuana — 10 a.m. ET

Honduran hosts hope to have a leg to stand on — pun intended — once the tie heads to Mexico.

West Ham to friendly neighbors Dag & Red: “Will help save our club”

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English Conference Premier side Dagenham and Redbridge has seen better days, and is getting a hand from a Premier League pal.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

West Ham United will pay a visit to Dag & Red as part of the latter’s #SaveTheDaggers campaign, and the March 21 date will cost fans between $7 and $21 to see a top flight side at 6,000-seat Victoria Road.

Dagenham and Redbridge chairman Paul Gwinn said, “It really will help save our club.”

“So please come on down to the Chigwell Construction Stadium for an additional night of football. Bring a friend, or two, or more and we can use the gate takings to help get us back on track,” reads a press release.

Dag & Red was founded in 1992 and climbed as high as League One in 2011, and plays just 2.5 miles from West Ham United’s training ground. Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle are among Dag & Red alums in the Premier League.

It’s a terrific gesture from West Ham, and is even more impressive in the United States where the growing club game is increasingly cutthroat (especially between non-synced leagues).

Angry Di Francesco extremely quotable after Roma loss

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AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco absolutely roasted his charges after i Lupi tossed aside a Cenzig Under-inspired lead to fall 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie on Wednesday.

Di Francesco had praise for Edin Dzeko, who assisted Under’s goal, as well as goalkeeper Alisson, but was mostly enraged by his side.

[ MORE: Recap + Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Rather than construct a narrative, we’re going to point out our five favorite selections from Di Francesco’s post-match talk.

4) “The difference was that in the first half we tried to hurt them while in the second we were looking to hold on – to what? I don’t know.”

— “To what? I don’t know” is hilarious. Di Francesco’s side has posted some serious wins this season, including killing off Chelsea 3-0 at home and coming back from 2-0 to draw the Blues at Stamford Bridge. He doesn’t preach sitting back.

3) “There were far too many schoolboy errors – even by players with a wealth of international experience.”

— Schoolboy errors!

2) “I saw two completely different teams out there today. There were lots of players I should have taken off after we conceded the first goal.”

— Again, one mistake by a number of players on Facundo Ferreyra is enough for Di Francesco. He’s not just happy to be here.

1) “I can’t imagine we’d get arrogant just because we’re winning an important game. It’s not as if Roma are used to reaching the final every year.”

— When you’re willing to essentially rip an entire club’s history — Roma’s been to just two UCL quarterfinals since losing the final to Liverpool in 1984 — you’re putting your footprints in new cement.

Europa League preview: Rating every second leg

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Christian Pulisic and Borussia Dortmund are one of many teams with their UEFA Europa League fates realistically in the balance come Thursday’s second legs of the Round of 32.

[ MORE: Sevilla 0-1 Man Utd | Mourinho reacts ]

Aside from a sextet of big teams posting blowouts, there’s still hope for the Round of 16 and a step closer to an automatic berth in the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League.

Basically done

Atletico Madrid 4-1 Copenhagen — 1 p.m. ET
Sporting Lisbon 3-1 Astana — 1 p.m. ET
Arsenal 3-0 Ostersund — 3:05 p.m. ET
Milan 3-0 Ludogorets Razgrad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao 3-1 Spartak Moscow — 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga 0-3 Marseille — 3:05 p.m. ET

In four of these cases, the heavy favorites emerged with multiple goal leads and at least three away goals.

Actually done

CSKA Moscow beat Red Star Belgrade 1-0 on Wednesday to win 1-0 on aggregate.

Unlikely, but big club lurks

RB Leipzig 3-1 Napoli — 1 p.m. ET
Villarreal 1-3 Lyon — 1 p.m. ET

In the case of Napoli, their 3-1 home loss to Leipzig was stunning but it’s impossible to rule out a club with such firepower. Villarreal trails by two to Lyon, but is home and dangerous.

Advantage one side, but anyone’s guess

Lokomotiv Moscow 3-2 Nice — 11 a.m. ET
Lazio 0-1 FCSB — 1 p.m. ET
Zenit Saint-Petersburg 0-1 Celtic — 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg 2-2 Real Sociedad — 3:05 p.m. ET
Atalanta 2-3 Borussia Dortmund — 3:05 p.m. ET

Salzburg’s two away goals in a draw feels like a one-goal lead, and the one-goal matches are especially interesting. In the case of Atalanta, 1-0 to the Serie A side could undo Michy Batshuayi‘s first leg heroics for BVB.

Wide open

Plzen 1-1 Partizan Belgrade — 1 p.m. ET
Dynamo Kyiv 1-1 AEK Athens — 1 p.m. ET

Yes, nil-nil will get it done for the hosts, but there wasn’t a 0-0 in the entire group of first legs.