Soccer-Atletico Madrid need win at rivals Real to boost title tilt - Metro US

Soccer-Atletico Madrid need win at rivals Real to boost title tilt

FILE PHOTO: Champions League - Group B - FC Porto v Atletico Madrid

(Corrects the day of the game to Sunday, not Saturday)

MADRID (Reuters) – Atletico Madrid will be desperate to beat runaway leaders Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday to revive their bid for a second consecutive Spanish league title.

Real are currently cruising in top spot, eight points ahead of second-placed Sevilla and 10 above Atletico in fourth, albeit having played a game more than those two rivals.

Diego Simeone’s Atleti team got a morale boost on Tuesday by jumping from last place to second in Champions League Group B with a 3-1 win at Porto nL1N2SS2UQ to qualify for the knockout phase.

However, they will need to be on top form to stop Real, with Carlo Ancelotti’s team looking for their 10th straight win in all competitions.

Even without Karim Benzema, absent with a hamstring injury, Real comfortably swatted aside Inter Milan 2-0 on Tuesday. They are unbeaten in the Champions League and LaLiga since losing 2-1 to Espanyol on Oct. 3.

While the France striker’s availability for the derby is still in question, Atletico could themselves be without their top scorer, Luis Suarez, who came off early in the Porto game with an undisclosed injury and has not trained since.

With Suarez and Benzema absent, the focus will be on Atleti’s Antoine Griezmann and Real’s Vinicius Jr, who have both stood out with their recent performances.

The Frenchman has two goals and two assists in the last two Atletico wins, while the Brazilian youngster has netted 10 times – two behind Benzema in the race to be LaLiga top scorer.

Far off the pace are Barcelona, licking their wounds after losing 3-0 at Bayern nL1N2ST2E0 Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday and failing to reach the knockout stages of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign.

They stand seventh in the table, six points off the top four, before travelling north to face Osasuna on Sunday.

(This story corrects the day of the game to Sunday, not Saturday)

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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