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Atletico bid to erase pain of finals past in Marseille

AFP  |  Lyon 

After painful defeats in recent continental finals, Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid are determined to justify their status as favourites in Wednesday's showpiece against in

Atletico lost in extra time to Real Madrid in the final of 2014, having been seconds away from victory in 90 minutes, and then lost on penalties to their city rivals in the final of the same competition two years later.

An exit from this season's in the group stage came as a big surprise for a formidable side spearheaded by in attack, but they have put that behind them to close on glory in Europe's less prestigious competition.

Atletico are looking to win the for the third time in nine seasons, after triumphing in 2010 and again in 2012, shortly after 'Cholo' Simeone was appointed "We can't wait for the final to come around," full-back told as Atletico target a first trophy since 2014, when they won

"With 'Cholo' lots of things have changed at Atletico. Everything we have experienced in these last few years we will remember forever. I hope we can get another little medal."

It would be a first, and possibly last major medal as an Atletico player for Griezmann, who was raised not far from but has spent his whole career in

The 27-year-old forward joined Atletico from Real Sociedad on the back of their title success in 2014, but could soon be on his way to

Griezmann and will lead Simeone's attack as Atletico return to Lyon, where they lost 3-0 to Dynamo in the final of the now defunct Cup Winners' Cup in 1986.

- Home advantage -


Atletico have had plenty of heartbreak in European finals down the years, as have

The French club have previously appeared in four, losing three, the exception being their victory over AC Milan in the inaugural final in 1993.

Rudi Garcia's team were not expected to make it this far, having started their European campaign in the qualifying rounds last July.

But after rousing wins over RB Leipzig in the last eight and Salzburg in the semi-finals, OM and their passionate fans are now dreaming of glory on home soil.

"Those who won in 1993 are still heroes because nobody else has done it since," told com.

"We know how tough it is. Of course, that's an added source of motivation, and if we do win the final, our names will be written into the club's history books forever."

are also battling for a top-three finish in the French league, and the fear is that will be a factor as they try to break down Atletico's brilliant defence.

"They are a big club, a super team with great players and a They are used to playing in big European matches. They are clear favourites but we will do everything to create a surprise," told daily L'Equipe.

Payet is "optimistic" he will shake off a minor muscle problem to feature in Wednesday's game, where Marseille will hope to have a big support behind them. Only around 11,500 of their fans will officially be in attendance, however, but several thousand more should make the three-hour trip to

Authorities are preparing for the threat of trouble, with a big rivalry developing in recent years between Marseille and Lyon.

Since reaching the final, Marseille fans have taunted Lyon and their with chants of: "We're going to smash up your house".

There will be 1,250 police officers deployed in the city and around the Stadium for Wednesday's match.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, May 15 2018. 09:40 IST