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Theo heightens tension ahead of Atletico-Real return leg

Xinhua, May 9, 2017 Adjust font size:

Tensions are likely to run high on Wednesday night when Atletico Madrid look to overturn a 3-0 deficit at home to neighbors, Real Madrid in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final.

Last Tuesday saw Real Madrid produce a convincing display and Cristiano Ronaldo score a hat-trick against an Atletico side that was almost unrecognizable to the team that is usually so hard to beat.

Atletico were slack in defense, ineffective in attack and misplaced passes in the middle of the field as Real went a long way towards booking a place in the final which will be held in Cardiff.

Preparations for the game were rocked on Monday by the news that French left back Theo

Hernandez, who is on loan at Alaves from Atletico, travelled to Madrid to undergo a medical with Real Madrid.

Real are willing to pay Theo's buyout clause, unilaterally breaking a pact they had with Atletico that the two clubs would not poach each other's players. That act of bad faith means Real Madrid can expect an even worse reception that the one they would have received in what is the last European game to be played in the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

The good news for Atletico is that right back Juanfran Torres will be available after injury giving the side some balance they were missing in the Bernabeu where Lucas Hernndez (Theo's brother) was forced to play on the right.

Meanwhile Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann will look to provide the spark in attack that was missing a week ago.

Real Madrid are still without Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal, who pulled a hamstring in the first leg, but Rafael Varene is available and will partner Sergio Ramos in central defense, while Nacho will probably cover at right back.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema will lead the attack with Isco again filling in for Bale as Real Madrid look for an away goal that would leave Atletico needing five to qualify and all but assure their place in Cardiff next month. Endit