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'Humble'Atletico march on past Milan

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WHEN Atletico Madrid were knocked out in the Champions League quarter-finals by Ajax in 1997, midfielder Diego Simeone could scarcely have imagined it would be 17 years before they reached the last eight again.

Almost two decades later, Simeone is now coaching the La Liga side and last night's 4-1 home victory against seven-times winners AC Milan, which put Atletico through to the quarter-finals 5-1 on aggregate.

Simeone's players harried and hassled Milan from the start and they looked dangerous nearly every time they broke forward.

Brazil-born forward Diego Costa, who scored twice to follow up his goal in last month's 1-0 first-leg win at the San Siro, showed why Spain coach Vicente del Bosque was so keen to secure his services and he now has seven goals in five Champions League appearances this season.

SCORING

Diego Costa scored the first and last goal to keep up a record of scoring in every Champions League game he has played this season as Atletico Madrid beat AC Milan to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 1997.

Kaka's header pulled one back for Milan but Arda Turan scored with a deflected effort and Raul Garcia headed in a third before Costa struck with five minutes left.

They are also still in with a chance of winning La Liga for the first time since 1996, again with Simeone in the side, and lurk three points behind leaders Real Madrid in second with 11 games left. "There will be seven top teams and one humble one which will irritate," Simeone said when asked about the March 21 draw for next month's quarters.

"I am happy because I have a group of men who play football in an extraordinary way and who have enormous passion for the game," added the 43-year-old.

"Let's see who our opponent is, I don't care if it's another Spanish team. Remain calm and recuperate well."

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]


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