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UCL Preview: Atletico looks to maintain dominance of Real; Juventus hosts Monaco




Since losing to Real Madrid in last year’s UEFA Champions League Final, Atletico Madrid has dominated its cross-town rival.

In the six Madrid derbies this season, Atleti have walked away winners five times. The only match the Rojiblancos didn’t emerge with a victory was the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup in mid-August, when they managed an away draw. In the most recent showdown, on Feb. 7, Atletico Madrid walked away 4-0 winners.

But for Real Madrid, all of those failures would quickly be forgiven should they knock off Atleti in the Champions League once again. And the first step toward that redemption begins with the opening leg at Vicente Calderon stadium this evening (2:45 p.m., Fox Sports 1).

Both sides survived a scare just to advance to the quarterfinals. Atleti advanced on penalties after playing to a deadlock with Bayer Leverkusen, while Real nearly let a two-goal advantage slip away at home in its second leg against Schalke.

But since the beginning of the month, both squads have  hit a strong run of form.

Los Blancos have picked up three straight wins – including a 3-0 victory over Eibar this past weekend – to get within two points of league-leading Barcelona. Atleti have also been playing well of late as well, notching three wins and a draw in its four matches since the Round of 16.

Meanwhile in Turin, Juventus takes on Monaco looking to bounce back from a shock defeat at the weekend.

Though Massimiliano Allegri opted to rest several of his starters on Saturday, Juve’s loss – just its second of the season – against Serie A bottom-dwellers Parma is no less surprising. But The Old Lady will have history on its side as it tries to recover against Monaco in the first leg (2:45 p.m., Fox Sports 2).

Entering Tuesday, the Italian giants have never lost at home to a French side. Likewise, Monaco has never left Italy with a victory.

While that promising fact may help lift Juventus’ spirits ahead of the clash, the club’s recent history would suggest the Bianconeri be cautiously optimistic. Though Juve have twice won the Champions League, they have not advanced to the semifinals since 2003.

And if Juventus hopes to break that run of 12 years without a semifinal appearance, they will have to do it without the services of Paul Pogba, who has been ruled out of both legs.

Monaco – which made its last trip to the semifinals in 2004 – will also be shorthanded on Tuesday, as striker Lacina Traore misses out due to a leg injury.


What do you think of this pair of UEFA Champions League matchups? Can Atletico Madrid keep its dominance of Real going? Can Juventus reach the semifinals?

Share your thoughts below.


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