Football

Atletico hoping for a Champions League miracle

Atletico Madrid go into tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) Champions League away clash against Chelsea with their qualification hopes hanging by a thread.

Not only do they need to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, they will also require winless Azerbaijani outfit Qarabag to deny Roma a win in Rome.

However, defender Filipe Luis has urged his teammates to "not stop believing", even if their chances of landing a Round-of-16 spot look slim.

Said Luis, who scored his team's opening goal in a 2-1 comeback win over Real Sociedad on Saturday: "This will be a very difficult game for us, but we must not stop believing.

"It is important not to give up hope and to keep going, even though we know we will need to rely on a team other than just ourselves.

"In terms of the rest of the season, we must be more proactive in games and take the initiative as we are leaving ourselves too vulnerable to drawing matches.

"On Saturday, we started very slowly and were punished, which made things very difficult, so we must learn from that."

His teammate Antoine Griezmann added: "We are going to try to win (against Chelsea) because we have the team to do it."

TORRID GROUP STAGE

Atletico, who have reached two of the last four Champions League finals, have had a torrid group stage campaign.

They are paying the price for two shock draws with minnows Qarabag.

In five group games, they have won just once - a 2-0 home win over Roma last month.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone is leaving the club's destiny in the hands of the footballing gods, although he stressed that they have to first do their part by securing victory against Antonio Conte's men.

He said: "Now we have to do what needs to be done in London. After that, fate will tell us where we end up.

"Good football as well as faith? No doubt."

- WIRE SERVICES

Football