Atletico looks to deny Chelsea, Mourinho final

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm •  Published: April 21, 2014
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MADRID (AP) — Jose Mourinho finds himself in the Champions League semifinals again, although Atletico Madrid hopes to make sure he fails to progress from this stage for the fourth season in a row.

Mourinho's Chelsea plays at Atletico's Vicente Calderon Stadium on Tuesday with its domestic title hopes floundering following a 2-1 loss to last-place Sunderland on Saturday. Atletico, meanwhile, secured an eighth straight victory to move within three wins of its first Spanish league title since 1996.

Mourinho made it as far as the semifinals twice during his previous spell in charge of the Blues before guiding Inter Milan to the title in 2010. Since then, he has three straight visits to the semifinals with Real Madrid, losing each time.

Chelsea faces the only unbeaten club, with Atletico having stifled Barcelona and AC Milan to make its first semifinal since 1974.

Here are five things to know before the first of two legs:

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WELCOME BACK JOSE: Atletico coach Diego Simeone would like to pick up where he left off against Mourinho, following the latter's time in Spanish football. Mourinho won two trophies in three seasons at Real Madrid, but capped his worst season as a football coach with a loss to Atletico in the Copa del Rey final last year. That stinging defeat helped to send Mourinho back to Chelsea and propelled Atletico on its improbable run to the verge of becoming the first Spanish club apart from Real Madrid or Barcelona to lift the Spanish title since Valencia in 2004. "We're not identical but we're similar (teams)," Simeone said. "Strong defensive work and direct play. Good on set-pieces. These are the qualities that got us here."

HAZARD, ETO'O OUT: Chelsea is without two of its attacking weapons as Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto'o were left out of the squad on Monday due to injury. Hazard has not recovered from a calf injury sustained against Paris Saint-Germain on April 8 and Eto'o has "a minor knee irritation." ''There is no unfinished business," Mourinho said of returning Chelsea to the semifinals. "I did my best, I always do my best. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose."

TURAN RETURNS: Atletico's attack received a major boost with the news that playmaking midfielder Arda Turan will be available. The Turkey international has been sidelined by a groin injury since a 1-1 draw at Barcelona in the opening leg of the quarterfinals. Turan's return will aid Atletico's attack with Spain playmaker Koke having been forced to be the main provider for striker Diego Costa. Diego Costa scored his 27th league goal in Atletico's 2-0 win over Elche on Friday to take his season tally to 35 in all competitions.