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Barça were the first team drawn out of the hat at this lunchtime’s Champions League quarter final draw in Nyon, with Atletico Madrid then drawn to play them. The first leg of the tie will be played on April 1 or 2 at the Camp Nou, with the second leg set for the Vicente a week later on April 8 or 9.
Fourth match up this season
The match at the Camp Nou will be the fourth time the two La Liga teams have met so far this season, with all three previous games ending in draws: in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup, the two drew 1-1, with Neymar on target for Barça, whilst the return leg at the Camp Nou ended goalless to give Barça the title on the away goals rule and the league game at the Vicente Calderon in January also ended goalless. Atletico Madrid are due at the Camp Nou in May for the final game of this season’s La Liga campaign.
Atletico unbeaten in Europe this season
Atletico are currently second in the league, a point ahead of Barça and reached the Champions League quarter finals by beating AC Milan 0-1 in Italy and then 4-1 at home, after also finishing unbeaten and topping Group G. Atletico have won 7 of their European games so far this season and drawn just one, scoring 20 goals and conceding only 4.
The first leg tie will come a few days after the Barcelona derby at El Prat-Cornella against Espanyol, whilst on the weekend before the visit to Madrid, Betis come to the Camp Nou. Atletico are away to Athletic Bilbao before the first leg and then host Villarreal the following weekend.
Asked to comment on the draw, director of football Andoni Zubizarreta said “we always knew we were going to get a tough opponent. Atlético are not a new discovery, they have being showing what they can do all season. They’re one of the strongest teams in Europe.
He didn’t sound too concerned about having to play the second leg away from home. “That’s what we got” he said. “I think that when you play another Liga side, you are so used to playing at their ground that it doesn’t make so much difference whether you are at the Camp Nou or the Vicente Calderón”.
He concluded by saying that “if Atlético are in the last eight of what they are calling one of the strongest quarter finals in the history of the Champions League, then it’s because of something … These are four great ties between great clubs. Even people that don’t support any of the teams will be able to enjoy some wonderful matches. We just hope we’ll be looking back positively on these games once they’re over.”
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