Football

Published: Tuesday March 11, 2014 MYT 5:37:01 AM
Updated: Tuesday March 11, 2014 MYT 5:37:39 AM

Patience key for Atletico clash, Milan's Seedorf says

MADRID (Reuters) - AC Milan will play a patient game in Tuesday's Champions League last 16 second leg at Atletico Madrid when they attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit, coach Clarence Seedorf said on Monday.

The only player to win Europe's elite club competition with three different clubs, former Ajax Amsterdam, Real Madrid and Milan midfielder Seedorf said Atletico were clearly the favourites to advance to the quarter-finals.

However, he said the seven-times European champions' glittering history could give them an edge at the Calderon, where Atletico will be trying to reach the last eight for the first time since 1997.

"You always have to have balance on these occasions," Seedorf, who took over from the sacked Massimiliano Allegri in January, told a news conference.

"The lead is minimal and the tie is open and I don't expect much to change from the first leg," added the former Netherlands international.

"We will respect Atletico's strengths while trying to make the most of our potential. There are 90 minutes to score a goal, or even better two."

Seedorf will be going head to head with a man he knows well from his playing days, Atletico's Argentine coach Diego Simeone, who had stints at Italian clubs including Inter Milan and Lazio and Spanish sides Atletico and Sevilla.

Simeone has transformed Madrid's second club into genuine contenders in Spain and Europe since taking over at the end of 2011 and they are second in La Liga, three points behind Real and a point clear of third-placed Barcelona.

Atletico's Brazil-born Spain forward Diego Costa headed the only goal seven minutes from time in last month's first leg and Atletico are firm favourites to advance given that they have won 15 of their last 16 European home games.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Mark Meadows)

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