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Atletico's Arda out of Barca Champions League clash

08 April 2014, 20:00

Madrid - Atletico Madrid playmaker Arda Turan is out of Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final, second leg at home to Barcelona but forward Diego Costa has been included in the squad, the La Liga leaders said on Tuesday.

Arda has not managed to shake off a groin problem, while coach Diego Simeone remains hopeful Costa will have recovered sufficiently from a thigh muscle strain to play a part in the match at the Calderon.

Simeone, whose side have the advantage of an away goal after last week's first leg in Barcelona ended 1-1, said if Costa was unavailable his place in the starting lineup would be taken by Adrian, with David Villa likely to partner him up front.

"I have every confidence in him (Adrian)," Simeone told a news conference.

"He is on good form, he has given us a great deal these past few seasons and I am sure that tomorrow he will get a goal," added the Argentine.

Atletico are trying to secure their first appearance in the semi-finals of Europe's elite club competition since 1974 and they last reached the quarters in 1997 with a team featuring Simeone that was eliminated by Ajax Amsterdam.

They have a fine record in recent European appearances at home, having won 16 of their last 17 matches at the Calderon, including four in a row this season.

However, they have not beaten Barca there since February 2010 and the Catalan club are unbeaten in five visits since.

The La Liga rivals have met four times this season, twice in the two-legged Spanish Super Cup, once in La Liga and once in the Champions League, and all four games ended in draws.

"I am expecting an emotional match, with two contrasting ways of playing," Simeone said.

"One that relies on talent, possession and with a recent history of success, and ours based on humility, heart, effort and counter attacks.

"We will see who is the strongest in this battle of styles."


Barca and Atletico are also battling it out for the La Liga title and leaders Atletico have a one-point advantage over second-placed Barca with six games left.

Barca playmaker Cesc Fabregas expects another tough game on Wednesday but is confident he and his team mates can find a way through Atletico's miserly back line.

"Atletico has one of the strongest defences around," Fabregas told a news conference on Tuesday.

"It is going to be very difficult but we have the technical ability and talent to beat them," added the Spain international.

"We have played four very close and tough games and we have been thinking hard about how to do them damage.

"Tomorrow we need to be courageous and be very true to the Barca playing philosophy."

- Reuters


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