x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Athletico manager Simeone wary of a rested AC Milan side

The Spanish side are strong favourites to progress as they hold a 1-0 advantage from the first leg thanks to Diego Costa’s late winner in the San Siro three weeks ago.

Atletico Madrid's coach Diego Pablo Simeone gestures during their Spanish first division soccer match against Celta Vigo at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo March 8, 2014. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal
Atletico Madrid's coach Diego Pablo Simeone gestures during their Spanish first division soccer match against Celta Vigo at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo March 8, 2014. REUTERS/Miguel Vidal

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has warned his side to take nothing for granted as they look to seal their place in the quarter-finals of the Uefa Champions League against AC Milan on Tuesday night.

The Spanish side have not reached the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition since Simeone played for the club back in 1997.

They are strong favourites to progress as they hold a 1-0 advantage from the first leg thanks to Diego Costa’s late winner in the San Siro three weeks ago.

“Milan is a strong institution. They are accustomed to playing in this competition and they have players with a lot of talent,” said Simeone. “It is a definitive match, but it is very dangerous despite the result in the first leg.”

Milan have had a dreadful domestic season. They are 11th in Serie A and winning the Champions League is their only hope of qualifying for the competition next season.

Simeone is wary that Milan’s star players, such as Mario Balotelli and Kaka, still have the class to make it a long night for his side at the Vicente Calderon. “Their form doesn’t complicate anything because I expect the best Milan.”

Uruguayan international Diego Godin said Milan’s ability to rest players in their weekend defeat to Udinese, while Atletico continued their Primera Liga title challenge, could give them an advantage.

“We have the smallest of advantages, but this is football and against a great team like Milan you can’t rely on that. We need to play the game as if it was a final,” he said.”

Uefa Champions League fixtures

All matches have 11.45pm (UAE) kick offs unless stated, first-leg scores in brackets

Tuesday

Atletico Madrid v AC Milan (Atletico Madrid 1-0)

Bayern Munich v Arsenal (Bayern Munich 2-0)

Wednesday

Manchester City v Barcelona (Barcelona 2-0)

PSG v Bayer Leverkusen (PSG 4-0)

March 18

Chelsea v Galatasaray (first leg 1-1)

Real Madrid v Schalke 04 (Real Madrid 6-1)

March 19

Borussia Dortmund v Zenit St Petersburg (Borussia Dortmund 4-2)

Manchester United v Olympiakos (Olympiakos 2-0)

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