Football: Atletico Madrid look much too hot for Villa

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The Independent Online
By Ian Davies

ANTE-POST Uefa Cup selection Atletico Madrid, third in the Spanish league and not disgraced in drawing 2-2 at Espanyol on Saturday, should outclass Aston Villa in the first leg of their quarter final tie tomorrow night. Atletico have lost Juninho but, in Christian Vieri, the Spanish club have a man who can pose Villa more problems than Liverpool's diminutive forwards did on Saturday.

Lazio, who despite Saturday's 0-0 draw with Atalanta may prove the principal challengers to Juventus in Serie A, should beat Auxerre, while Ajax, who hammered NEC Nijmegen 3-0 on Saturday, are 15 points clear in the Dutch League and are rivalling Manchester United as the best team in Europe on this season's form, should outclass Spartak Moscow.

In Wednesday's European Cup quarter-final first legs, Manchester United, who, if they reproduce the pragmatic brilliance with which they defended a goal lead at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, can overcome the loss of Giggs and Pallister and nick a win at Monaco, while Juventus, who beat Bari 1-0 on Saturday, can contain Dynamo Kiev in Turin.

In Thursday's Cup-Winners' Cup quarter-final first legs, Real Betis, who won 3-2 at Compostela on Saturday, may beat Chelsea, who remain weak at the back.

Team C H L T

Ajax 2-5 2-5 4-11 2-5

Draw 11-4 11-4 11-4 11-4

Spartak Moscow 6-1 6-1 7-1 6-1

Atletico Madrid 4-9 1-2 4-9 4-9

Draw 11-4 12-5 5-2 13-5

Aston Villa 5-1 5-1 6-1 11-2

Lazio 4-11 2-5 1-3 4-11

Draw 11-4 11-4 3-1 10-3

Auxerre 7-1 6-1 7-1 11-2

Monaco 6-4 6-4 7-4 7-4

Draw 11-5 11-5 11-5 11-5

Manchester Utd 7-5 6-4 5-4 5-4

Juventus 2-5 4-11 4-9 4-9

Draw 3-1 3-1 13-5 11-4

Dynamo Kiev 5-1 6-1 11-2 6-1

Real Betis 6-5 5-4 5-4 11-10

Draw 9-4 11-5 11-5 9-4

Chelsea 7-4 7-4 7-4 15-8

C - Coral, H - William Hill, L - Ladbrokes, T -Tote

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