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Soccer-Atletico have no fear of Real - Simeone

Reuters

By Clare Lovell

London, April 30 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said his players relished the chance of meeting Real Madrid in the Champions League final next month even though they have less experience on the big stage than their powerful city rivals.

Simeone, whose side beat Chelsea 3-1 with a commanding performance in the semi-final second leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, said he felt there was no advantage in playing a side his players know so well.

"I don't see it as either an advantage or really a disadvantage," the Argentine told reporters.

"The reality is that we know each other very well. We will be playing against a very powerful club who are used to these big nights.

"It's been a long time since we were in such a position so we are very happy and excited to be there."

Real Madrid have won the European Cup nine times, while Atletico have had to be content the now defunct Cup Winners' Cup and two Europa League victories in 2010 and 2012.

They showed no signs of feeling second string against Chelsea, however, and Simeone praised his players for their positive response to going a goal down through former Atletico forward Fermando Torres in the 36th minute.

"I thought the reaction to the first goal was crucial. We reacted very well and scored. Then when we made it 2-1 that was the pivotal moment because after that we owned the game and controlled it," he said.

Adrian Lopez scored in the 44th minute followed by a penalty from Diego Costa on the hour after he was brought down in the area by Chelsea substitute Samuel Eto'o.

"The reaction considering we were playing against such an opponent in their own stadium was very good. I'm very happy with the second-half performance in that we controlled the game against a very tough opponent and that is the enduring feeling of the game." Simeone said.

The final is in Lisbon on May 24. (Reporting By Clare Lovell)

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