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James Rodriguez demands focus ahead of Champions League clash between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid

By Staff Reporter

Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez expects a tough Champions League quarter-final second leg clash against city rivals Atletico Madrid tonight.

Keeper Jan Oblak was Atletico's hero in the first leg as he denied Real a priceless away goal as the clash at Vicente Calderon ended 0-0.

The 22-year-old Slovenian pulled off two vital first-half saves, the first of them at point-blank range, to deny Gareth Bale and enable Atletico to extend their unbeaten record against Carlo Ancelotti's men this season to seven games.

Atletico have beaten their neighbours four times and drawn against them three times in their bid for revenge for last season's Champions League final, which Real won 4-1 after extra time.

"We have to show intensity, be completely focused, play well and all stick together. I think if we do that we'll come away with an excellent result," Rodriguez said.

"We're all dreaming of getting through this round, and if I can score too that'd be great. What's important is winning and getting through this tough match, which is going to be difficult, but we're here at our home stadium and in front of our fans. I think it could be a great match."

Rodriguez added: "Atletico are an intense team who are good at the back and are a unit. There's always pressure here. You have to know how to handle it. We're going to give everything to be able to win La Undecima."

Real were dealt a blow ahead of the match with news that Bale has a calf injury and is likely to miss the clash, while Luka Modric will not play because of a knee injury.

Star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, however, is fully fit and ready to break Real's winless streak against their city rivals.

Atletico striker Antoine Griezmann thinks his side will follow up their strong performances against Real with a victory on rival turf.

"We are pleased with our performances this season against Real," the France international said. "With every game I play here I am more settled and confident. I hope I can help the team prevail."

Juventus, meanwhile, bring a 1-0 advantage to Monte Carlo as they take on Monaco in their Champions League quarter-final second leg.

Arturo Vidal's penalty was enough to give the Italians victory in the first leg.

Belfast Telegraph


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