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Tuesday, Jul 07th

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Defending champions Real Madrid entertain Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium here on Tuesday night. The game sees last season's finalists go head-to-head again with Atletico out for revenge for the painful defeat they suffered in the penalty shootout, which came just two years after Sergio Ramos scored a late equaliser against them in the 2014 final, which Real went on to win in injury time.

The first leg comes less than a month after the 1-1 draw between the two neighbours in the La Liga, which would be a good result for Atletico if it were repeated on Tuesday night.

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Real Madrid got over the disappointment of losing at home in last weekend's Clasico by thrashing Deportivo 6-2, making sure the prospects of the La Liga title remain within their reach. The victory on Wednesday night, achieved without stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, puts Real level on points with Barcelona with one game in hand.

It took Real Madrid less than a minute to take the lead over Deportivo, with Alvaro Morata crashing a rising drive in at the near post.

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Lionel Messi scored a goal in virtually the last second of the game to give FC Barcelona a thrilling 3-2 win away to Real Madrid and blow the race for the Spanish football league title wide open. The result on Sunday night leaves Barcelona level on points with Real Madrid at the top of the table, although Madrid have played a game less.

A win for the home side would have virtually assured them the league title with five matches left to play, and as early as the first minute there was controversy as Ral Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo went down after a challenge from Samuel Umtiti in the Barcelona penalty area. However, television replays showed that the Real Madrid striker greatly exaggerating the contact.

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Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said on Saturday that he wanted to avoid seeing his side classed as favourites ahead of Sunday's 'El Clasico' at home to bitter rivals FC Barcelona.

A win for Madrid in probably the biggest domestic club game in the world would all but assure them being crowned as Spanish league champions for this season. Zidane's team certainly look to be in better form than Barcelona, who were knocked out of the Champions League by Italian giants Juventus on Wednesday. However, speaking to the press on Saturday, Zidane was anxious to avoid putting extra pressure on his side to perform.

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FC Barcelona striker Neymar Jr. will be unavailable for Sunday's 'El Clasico' against bitter rivals Real Madrid after Spain's Administrative Court of Sport (TAD) said on Saturday that it was unable to hear the Catalan club's bid to allow him to play.

TAD said the team's appeal arrived after the court's weekly meeting had already concluded Friday afternoon and that an extraordinary session could not be arranged for Saturday morning because the requirements for such a gathering had not been met.

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Saul Niguez's first-half goal turned out to be all that Atletico Madrid needed here to defeat Leicester City 2-1 on aggregate and reach the Champions League semi-finals for the third time in four years.

Leicester's Jamie Vardy's 61st-minute goal cancelled out Niguez's 26th-minute strike in the second leg of the quarter-final on Tuesday night but Atletico's 1-0 win plus an away goal here gave them a comfortable 2-1 win.

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Bayern Munich manager Carlo Ancelotti has come down heavily on the standard of refereeing in the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Real Madrid, saying such poor standards of officiating should never happen at this level.

"We had thought of everything going into this game -- except the referee," Ancelotti was quoted as saying by the BBC on Wednesday. "You can't decide a semi-final spot like this. It shouldn't happen at this level."

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