Real Madrid's tie with Atletico Madrid in the balance after goalless draw

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Real Madrid vs. Atletico Madrid seems to have become the battle of choice both domestically and in Europe.

Taking over from a flurry of El Clasico meetings in various competitions, where Barcelona played Los Blancos in the region of 16 times over a three year period, Atleti now present the sternest of tests each time both Madrid clubs meet.

Diego Simeone has worked wonders in getting the monkey off of the Rojiblancos back too. Before the Copa Del Rey final victory at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2013, Atleti had gone 14 years without a win against their cross-town rivals.

Since then, Real have struggled to turn the red and white tide and even their eventual Champions league victory was at the very least undeserved. Atleti were, let's remember, leading with just two minutes of injury time remaining.


In any event, fast forward to this season's competition and a quirk of fate sees two of Spain's top three meeting again for the right to claim a place in the semi final of European football's premier competition.

A feisty and competitive game which included a number of yellow cards, ended in a 0-0 draw but this was anything but dour.

The only thing missing from the game was goals, we had everything else in abundance. But who would have been the happier manager at the conclusion of proceedings.

Without the comfort of an away goal, Carlo Ancelotti will be acutely aware that any lapses in concentration at the back could swiftly hand the advantage to Simeone's side.

That said, for the most part in the first leg Atleti were comprehensively outplayed by Real.

Oblak the hero

James Rodriguez, restored in place of Isco, and Luca Modric were particularly pleasing on the eye and the Croatian in particular was the fulcrum of any good work from the visitors.

The way in which his players refused to allow Atleti to gain a foothold in the match will surely have pleased Ancelotti and only the acrobatics of Jan Oblak kept Real at bay.

Back amongst their own in the Bernabeu, with 80,000 Madridistas willing them to victory, you get the feeling that this assignment might be one too many for an Atleti side that have gone off of the boil since this time last year.

But never, ever write Diego Simeone off. The master motivator will be up to all of his old tricks, knowing that the away goal forces Real back out of their comfort zone again.

Unbeaten in seven

Unbeaten in their last seven against Ancelotti's side, the Argentine knows he has Real's number.

Indeed, Los Blancos have only failed to score on four occasions this season, and three of those have come against Atleti.

The tie is completely in the balance but Simeone will probably be the happier of the two as we approach the second leg.

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