Bad European nights continue to plague Atletico

MADRID • Atletico Madrid's 3-0 loss to city rivals Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday was just a continuation of bad results that have blighted the team for almost 60 years.

Real's victory at the Santiago Bernabeu means that they are poised to knock their city rivals out of the prestigious competition for the fourth successive year. Two of those defeats came in the 2014 and 2016 finals, while the other was a quarter-final elimination in 2015.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Tuesday's result was that it was fully deserved.

Real dominated from start to finish with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick, while Atletico created only two chances in the first half.

The loss was a continuation of results Atletico have suffered in continental competitions against Real since the European Cup semi-final in 1959, despite coach Diego Simeone's reign bringing more balance to the rivalry.

The Argentinian, however, has not given up on his team's chances yet.

He said after the match: "We will try and take the chance we have, no matter how small it is.

"I feel relaxed, more than anything else, more than ever. We will try for something impossible, as we are Atletico Madrid, we are capable of doing it."

Despite the coach's fighting words, elimination seems an inevitability.

A pre-match banner caused some consternation, according to reports in Spain, as Real fans created a display which read "tell me how it feels", in reference to their two final wins over Atletico.

Still, more than 4,000 Atletico fans remained for more than 15 minutes after the final whistle, singing about never giving up on their team.

Unfortunately their team made it hard for themselves, conceding two second-half goals to the irrepressible Ronaldo, leaving themselves little hope of a dramatic comeback next week.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2017, with the headline 'Bad European nights continue to plague Atletico'. Print Edition | Subscribe