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Atletico enter Madrid derby determined to end their rivals' winning run

Madrid, Sep 16 (IANS) The first Madrid derby of the 2022/23 season arrives at a crucial moment in the campaign. After five rounds of action, defending LaLiga champions Real Madrid have won every game so far and have 15 points to their name, whereas Atletico de Madrid have 10 points after playing out three wins, one draw and one defeat so far.

Diego Simeone knows the team can’t afford to slip any further behind their city rivals, so they’ll give their all when the ball gets rolling at 3:00 PM (ET) on Sunday.

Not only will Atletico set out to close the gap to Real Madrid, but they’ll also hope to be the ones to end Real Madrid’s winning run. Los Blancos have won the first five fixtures of a new league season for the first time since 2009/10 and have looked unstoppable, picking up where they left off last season.

However, Real Madrid’s last loss came in this very fixture in the last LaLiga Santander season. That was in Matchday 35 last term, when Carlo Ancelotti’s men had already lifted the trophy but lost 1-0 to a Yannick Carrasco penalty.

Atletico’s first Madrid Derby victory at their new home

That Madrid Derby victory towards the end of last season was Atletico de Madrid’s first against Real Madrid since moving to their new stadium in 2017. They’ve now hosted their neighbours in north-east Madrid on five occasions, but their only win was the last one, coming after three draws and one defeat.

“We really wanted to achieve this first derby victory at the Metropolitano, earning the three points for our fans,” Atletico captain Koke said after the victory in May. “Our fans will remember that effort and the way we pushed from the very beginning. This was about more than the three points.”

Now, having already experienced a Madrid Derby celebration in their new home, Atletico de Madrid will come into this Sunday’s game feeling extra confident and extra motivated to repeat that feeling.

The latest edition of Simeone vs Ancelotti

In Diego Simeone and Carlo Ancelotti, the Madrid Derby boasts two of the very best coaches in world football. The Argentine and the Italian have become legends at their respective clubs, partly because of their results in this fixture.

For example, Ancelotti’s 2013/14 Real Madrid side won La Decima, the club’s 10th European Cup, against Atletico, while Simeone’s most impressive Madrid Derby win was the 4-0 over the Italian’s squad in the 2014/15 LaLiga Santander season. Overall, they’ve faced each other 15 times, with Simeone edging the head-to-head with six victories compared to Ancelotti’s five victories and the four draws.

As well as those two elite coaches, so many of the world’s best players will also be involved in this one. Joao Felix and Vinicius are both 22 years of age and already leading their teams’ attacks, and they’ll be trying to get the better of the world-class goalkeepers that are Jan Oblak and Thibaut Courtois, arguably the two best shot-stoppers in the game.

Given how crucial the three points are, this promises to be a thrilling battle when Atletico de Madrid and Real Madrid meet on Sunday. This is the final LaLiga Santander match before the September international break, so both sets of players will approach this match ready to put every ounce of sweat into this rivalry match.

–IANS

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