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Friday April 11, 2014 MYT 7:57:02 PM
Friday April 11, 2014 MYT 7:58:28 PM
by zoran milosavljevic
Atletico Madrid's players celebrate their team's first goal against Barcelona during their Champions League quarter-final second leg soccer match in Madrid, April 9, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
BELGRADE (Reuters) - Chelsea avoided Real Madrid and Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals draw but Atletico Madrid are no soft option, Atletico's former title-winning coach Radomir Antic warned on Friday.
Surprise Spanish league leaders Atletico stunned Barcelona in the quarter-finals, sealing a 2-1 aggregate win this week with a 1-0 home victory, but are still considered the dark horses to win the trophy for the first time.
Antic, who became the fans' hero when he won the Spanish league and cup double with Atletico in 1996, believes the current side put together by Diego Simeone can be even better.
"Atletico are the fittest team in Europe at the moment and their confidence will be very high after beating mighty Barcelona," the 65-year-old Serb told Belgrade daily Informer.
"They did it despite their two best players Diego Costa and Arda Turan missing the return leg and hence their surge in Spain and Europe should no longer be viewed as a surprise.
"The club will head into the Champions League semis knowing the other teams will not fancy the prospect of playing them."
Atletico are top of La Liga with 79 points from 32 games, one more than Barcelona who they visit on the last day of the season and two ahead of Real Madrid, with six games remaining.
(Editing by Martyn Herman) nL3N0N32LS
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