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Simeone wants noisy Calderon cauldron

Updated: 2014-04-09 07:18
( China Daily)

Diego Simeone has called on Atletico Madrid fans to contribute to a memorable night as it hosts Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal on Wednesday.

The tie is level at 1-1 as Neymar's equalizer canceled out Diego's incredible strike for Atletico to ensure there has still not been a winner in four meetings between the sides this season.

Simeone was seen imploring the crowd at Vicente Calderon to raise the decibel level as Atletico held on for a 1-0 win at home to Villarreal on Saturday to maintain its place at the top of La Liga.

And the Argentine wants more of the same to help his side get over the line against four-time European champion Barca.

"I know a lot about the club and the fans need to understand what is important for us, especially at this stage in the season having played so many games," Simeone said.

"The atmosphere was rocking, and that gives us more energy and strength to compete. When people ask 'Why do we support Atleti,' it is for this. We are passionate, humble, work hard and if we have to suffer, we suffer."

Simeone and Barca boss Gerardo Martino lamented how much the first leg had taken out of their respective squads as Barca also struggled to a 3-1 win over cellar-dwelling Real Betis on Saturday.

Barcelona will also be affected by key injuries to Victor Valdes and Gerard Pique as it travels to the Spanish capital.

However, Marc Bartra - who will deputize for Pique at the heart of the Barca defense - believes his club has already shown its ability to overcome injuries this season, having lost Lionel Messi for two months earlier in the campaign.

"We have had bad luck with injuries, but this group has shown that it can overcome delicate situations. We need to do that again and do our best," Barta told the club's website.

"I am very positive. We are going to the Calderon full of hope that we can go through."

- Agence France-Presse

(China Daily 04/09/2014 page23)