Champs League semis: Madrid city derby, Juventus vs Monaco
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 22, 2017 08:18 AM
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday April 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)NYON, Switzerland (AP) — Defending champion Real Madrid will meet city rival Atletico Madrid in the semifinals of the Champions League in a rematch of last season's final.
The Spanish teams also met in the 2014 final, with Madrid winning both times.
The draw on Friday pitted Juventus and Monaco in the other semifinal.
Madrid will play the first game at home on May 2. Monaco will host Juventus on May 3. The return legs will be the following week.
"The goal is to reach the final and to do that you have to beat whichever opponent you get," Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. "The goal and the motivation would be the same with any other opponent."
The Madrid clubs have faced each other in the last three Champions Leagues. Madrid also defeated Atletico in the 2015 quarterfinals.
"Every year and every game is different," said former Madrid player Emilio Butragueno, the club's director of institutional relations. "They will be two very intense games. Atletico never gives you anything and we will continue to have faith in the players who have gotten us this far."
In its seventh straight semifinal, Madrid is trying to become the first team to repeat as champion since the competition's new format was created in 1992. It won a record-extending 11th title last season.
Atletico is seeking its first title. In addition to the defeats against Madrid, it also lost to Bayern Munich in the 1974 final.
The second leg against Madrid will mark the last Champions League game at the Vicente Calderon before Atletico moves to its new stadium.
"The best stage to bid farewell to the Calderon in the Champions League," Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez said.
Two-time champion Juventus is trying to return to the final since losing the final to Barcelona in 2015. That year, it eliminated Monaco in the quarterfinals with a 1-0 aggregate score.
"It's a tough opponent, they shouldn't be underestimated, because we know how dangerous they can be," Juventus defender Stephan Lichtsteiner said. "Having seeing them up close against us two years ago, when they had the same coach, I can say they play lovely football, they're very quick up front and strong in attack.
"They don't have anything to lose and the pressure will be all on our shoulders. Their weakness could be their lack of experience, as they are a very young group. They might concede a lot of goals, but they score a lot too."
Juventus is looking for its first European title since 1996.
Monaco is in the semifinals for the first time since it lost the 2004 final to FC Porto.
The final is in Cardiff on June 3.