UCL Tuesday: Real, Atleti renew rivalry in semifinals first leg

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It’s about to get real in the UEFA Champions League. No pun intended… maybe.

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There’s no Barcelona, no Bayern Munich, no Premier League sides remaining, but what we do have is a rivalry that will almost certainly present a captivating semifinal as Real Madrid takes on city rival Atletico Madrid.

These two sides have been firmly entrenched in the UCL over recent years, with the rivalry taking a massive step forward in the past three seasons as Real knocked off Atleti in the 2013/14 and 2015/16 finals in dramatic fashion.

In their previous 10 encounters, Atletico has come away with four victories to Real’s three and the clubs have tied on three other occasions, including their most recent meeting back on April 8.

As the stats show, there’s not much separating these two clubs.

At the forefront of all it will be renowned attacker Cristiano Ronaldo, who aims to lead Los Blancos to the Millennium Stadium in an attempt to achieve back-to-back UCL crowns.

The Portuguese international is tied for fourth in goals during this season’s competition with seven, while Antonine Griezmann is the danger man for Atletico after finishing five goals of his own.

Both Diego Simeone and Zinedine Zidane clearly possess squads with brilliant attacking ability, but it could be the defending on display that decides this season’s clash between the two Madrid clubs.

Atletico boasts the best backline in La Liga in 2016/17, having only allowed 25 goals in 35 matches, which equates to 0.7 goals per game. Meanwhile, Real has battled some uncertainty defensively at times this season, but the Madridistas have clamped down as of late.

Since January, Real has only conceded more than three goals on three occasions.

The two sides will meet again next Wednesday at the Vicente Calderon Stadium.