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Madrid derby win not to take away pain of Champions League defeat: Koke

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Madrid, Nov 18 (IANS) Saturday will see the first Madrid derby between Atletico and Real Madrid since the Champions League final in which Real Madrid beat their neighbours on penalties on a dramatic night in Milan.

That night on May 28 was the second time that Real Madrid have beaten Atletico in the Champions League final in three years and on both occasions, it came in the most painful manner imaginable for Atletico. According to Atletico midfielder Koke, those defeats are something he will never forget, reports Xinhua.

If last season saw them lose a penalty shoot-out after being the better side over 120 minutes, 2014 saw Real Madrid snatch an equalising goal in the third minute of injury time, before going on to beat an exhausted Atletico 4-1 in extra time.

Atletico have not lost to their neighbours in a Spanish league game for the past three years and Saturday's game promises to have more emotion given that it is the last derby to be played in the Vicente Calderon Stadium.

Atletico need a win to keep in touch with Real Madrid at the top of the table. But for Koke victory will not take away the pain of Milan.

"That is something you never get over. It is going to stay with me all of my life," he said in an interview on Spanish radio station, Cadena Ser.

"I don' t think that even if we won the Champions League, I would forget it, because it will always be there," he continued, adding that the players wanted to "offer the fans a win in the last league derby in the Calderon."

"It's a game in which anything could happen. Both of the sides know each other well and it is the small details which will decide it, however Real Madrid have an advantage in that a draw means they maintain their advantage over us," the midfielder added.

Real have a six point lead in the Spanish league over Atletico and a win for Zinedine Zidane's side will see them go nine points clear.

"It would be complicated for us to win the league if they beat us. But we have high hopes of winning the derby and I think we will," Koke concluded.

--IANS

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