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01-02-2018, 11:36 PM
LISBON, Portugal -- For Atletico Madrid, the only thing in the way of the greatest season in the clubs 111-year history is crosstown archrival Real Madrid. The Spanish rivals make up the first intracity Champions League final in history, with the match to be played in Lisbon. Real Madrid is the competitions most successful club and bidding to end a 12-year wait for "La Decima" -- its 10th European Cup title. It recently had a 14-year unbeaten run against Atletico in all competitions come to an end last season, when Atletico won the Copa del Rey at Reals Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Here are five things to know about Saturdays match: INJURY WORRIES: Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to return from injury to play Saturday. Diego Costa is unlikely. Advantage, Real Madrid. Ronaldo has been burdened by leg injuries over the past two months but said Tuesday he would be available to play in his first Champions League final for Madrid. Costa has also endured leg setbacks and, after hobbling off against Barcelona on Saturday, sought treatment from a specialist in Belgrade using horse placenta. Ronaldos return will bolster Madrids already potent attack with Gareth Bale set to start. But striker Karim Benzema appears to be doubtful with a hamstring injury. Madrid centre back Pepe is also a game-time decision. ALONSOS REPLACEMENT: Xabi Alonsos absence deals an important blow to Madrids midfield. The Spain international has been one of Madrid coach Carlo Ancelottis most important players this season, but a yellow card in the semifinal win over Bayern Munich has left him suspended. Either Sami Khedira, Asier Illarramendi or Casamiro is likely to fill the void and take responsibility for opening up Madrids attack and breaking up Atleticos buildups. Illaramendi is the natural successor to Alonso, but he has had a nervy debut season at Madrid. "It will be a very equal match and I imagine the midfield will be determinant in setting up play," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. VILLA EXPERIENCE: Not only will David Villas goal-scoring prowess make up for Diego Costas absence, but the Spain strikers experience should prove invaluable to an Atletico team short of Champions League experience. Villa is the only regular in the squad who has played in a Champions League final before, scoring in Barcelonas 3-1 triumph over Manchester United at Wembley Stadium in 2011. Costas absence could also bolster Villas hopes of playing for Spain at the World Cup. Madrid can count on more experience as Cristiano Ronaldo won the title while at Manchester United and goalkeeper Iker Casillas was part of Madrids winning teams in 2000 and 02. Madrid can also draw on the experience of assistant coach Zinedine Zidane, who scored an iconic goal in Madrids 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in its last Champions League final appearance. PAISLEYS RECORD: Carlo Ancelotti has been able to get Real Madrid where Jose Mourinho never could, and now the Italian coach is one win away from matching Bob Paisley with his third European Cup. Ancelotti, who also won two European Cups as a player, secured the Champions League at AC Milan in 2003 and 07, leaving him on the verge of matching the former Liverpool managers record number of titles. "Theres no pressure on me, just the joy of living this moment of happiness," Ancelotti said. "A lot of (teams) have to watch this game in front of the TV and were lucky to be able to play it. Ive watched this game on TV a lot of times and I didnt enjoy it." Diego Simeone could become just the third non-European coach to win the trophy. The only other two were also Argentine -- Real Madrids Luis Carniglia in 1958 and 59 and Helenio Herrera of Inter Milan in 1964 and 65. DERBY TIME: Saturdays match represents the most important Madrid derby after 194 league and Spanish Cup games. Madrid has the advantage with 102 victories to Atleticos 46. Atletico only ended a 14-year winless run against Madrid in all competitions last season when it won the Copa del Rey at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Atletico has won and drawn the two league encounters since, while Madrid easily won a pair of Copa del Rey matches against Atletico en route to the domestic cup title. The pair have met in the European Cup once before -- in 1959, when Madrid needed a replay to emerge victorious. After the two legs finished 2-2, Madrid won 2-1 in Zaragoza to reach the final. But in one-game cup finals, Atletico -- which can become the seventh team to finish the competition undefeated -- leads the series 4-1. "There are no secrets for this game," Ancelotti said. "The two teams know each other well." Glenn Hall Jersey (http://www.officialblackhawksauthority.com/glenn-hall-blackhawks-jersey-c-24/) . Dont miss a single shot, live on TSN beginning at 7pm et/4pm pt. 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Mourinhos side is just two points behind Liverpool with two games remaining. "They obviously sat very deep -- I think there were two buses parked today, never mind one," said Rodgers, who was a coach at Chelsea between 2004 and 2008. "It was clear that theyd come certainly not wanting to win the game, with the time wasting." That claim was unsurprisingly challenged by Mourinho -- "Time wasting? Whats that?" -- with the Chelsea manager affronted by criticism of his tactics. "When a team defends well you call it defensive display," he told reporters. "When a team defends badly and concedes two or three goals you dont mention a defensive display." But Mourinho continued his policy of dismissing Chelseas title prospects, stressing: "We have no chance." Its not that unrealistic for Chelsea, but Manchester City has replaced Liverpool as the team which has the destination of the trophy in its own hands. Third-placed City closed the gap on Liverpool to three points by winning 2-0 at Crystal Palace on Sunday, and it has a game in hand to play at Everton on Saturday. So by the time Liverpool plays at Palace next Monday it could have been knocked off the top on goal difference by City. Its a long time to dwell on a defeat that will suppress the fervour that had been growing at Liverpool that the team will win the English title for the first time since 1990, having started the season as 33-1 outsiders with bookmakers. Hours before kickoff, thousands of Liverpool fans lined the streets, preparing for the teams arrival at Anfield. It had the air of a victory parade, but whether the real thing takes place next month is now a lot more uncertain. "The bigger picture is that were still two points ahead of a team (Chelsea) that has spent an absolute fortune," Rodgers said. "If we win our two games well finish above them and then well see what happens with Manchester City. We achieved our objective of Champions League football.dddddddddddd." That competition is Mourinhos priority this season, resting several key players Sunday for Wednesdays semifinal against Atletico Madrid after the first-leg was a 0-0 draw. Mourinhos defensive tactics at Liverpool might have seemed to his critics to be anti-football, but they demonstrated his abilities to successfully set up a team to be well organized and frustrate opponents. While Chelsea defender Ashley Coles curling effort forced the first save of the game from Simon Mignolet, there was little attacking ambition from the visitors. Liverpool controlled the game, but without the speed or fluency of recent weeks as the hosts couldnt find a route to goal. In the opening 15 minutes, Phillippe Coutinho volleyed into the sidenetting and Mamadou Sakhos shot was cleared off the line by Cole before he mis-fired the follow-up from six yards. The last time Liverpool played here Gerrard was caught on camera telling the players: "This does not slip now." But it was Gerrard, usually the reliable heartbeat of the team and inspirational one-club player, who slipped in possession near the halfway line in the third minute of stoppage time, giving away the ball to Ba. With Gerrard unable to chase him down, the Senegal striker charged through on goal and coolly placed the ball past Mignolet and into the net. However much Liverpool tried to batter through toward the Chelsea goal in the second half, the defence held up well. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, a second-half substitute, are the leading scorers in the league with 50 goals between them, but they rarely came close to equalizing. Not even when facing 41-year-old goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, deputizing for the injured Petr Cech, who repelled Joe Allens first-time volley with a low diving save just before the hour. A rasping strike from Gerrard was also thwarted and a downward header by the captain lacked power to trouble Schwarzer. As the end neared, Suarez could not connect with Coutinhos cross, and the Uruguay striker saw a shot turned over in stoppage time before Chelsea stunned Anfield again. Former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres launched the breakaway, drawing Mignolet off his goal-line and then passing to Willian to walk the ball into the net. Mourinho jogged down the touchline, pounding the Chelsea crest on his coat in celebration. Cheap NFL Jerseys (http://www.cheapjerseysthrowback.com/) Wholesale Jerseys (http://www.cheapjerseysauthenticfromchina.com/) Wholesale NFL Jerseys (http://www.wholesalejerseysautographed.com/) Jerseys From China (http://www.cheapnfljerseyssent.com/) Wholesale NFL Jerseys (http://www.cheapjerseysali.com/) Cheap NFL Jerseys (http://www.chinanfljerseyscheaponline.com/) Cheap Jerseys (http://www.cheapnikenfljerseyschina.com/) ' ' '