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Champions League: Important European night for both Madrid clubs

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Madrid, Nov 2 (Xinhua) Real Madrid would look to take an important step towards assuring their place in the last 16 of the Champions League when they entertain Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night.

Although the side from Ukraine twice defeated Real Madrid in last season’s competition, Carlo Ancelotti’s side beat them 5-0 away from home two weeks ago and everything points to them claiming another three points.

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Ancelotti decided to rest striker Karim Benzema for the weekend win away to Elche and the French forward should return against Shakhtar, while Ancelotti will probably make some changes to his starting eleven with Eduardo Camavigna perhaps in line for a start along with Ferland Mendy and Marcos Asensio.

There will be attention focused on whether Eden Hazard will start after yet another brief substitute appearance at the weekend implied he remains out of favour.

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Mariano Diaz will probably miss out after receiving a facial injury in Elche, while Rodrygo is sidelined after suffering a muscle problem in the same game.

Wednesday will also see Atletico Madrid travel to Anfield to play Liverpool in a key game for both sides. A point for Liverpool would book their place in the knockout stages, while Atletico’s current position in the group with four points from three games means they have to get something from the match to maintain their chances of advancing to the next stage.

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Liverpool won a thrilling game in Madrid a fortnight ago and Atletico will be without Antoine Griezmann through suspension after he was sent off in that game. Atletico also travel without Stefan Savic, Marcos Llorente, Geoffrey Kondogbia, and Thomas Lemar through injury, but will be boosted by the improved display that saw them win 3-0 at home to Betis on Saturday.

Atletico won in the knockout stage in Anfield two years ago in a game that will be remembered for its role in helping spread the coronavirus at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 and a recent report published in the UK linked the game to over 30 subsequent deaths from the virus.

–IANS

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