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Leagues: UEFA Champions League

Atletico warm up for Man Utd Champions League date with victory

Madrid (AFP) – Atletico Madrid edged out Cadiz 2-1 on Friday to move into third place in La Liga and earn a timely morale-boost ahead of their Champions League trip to Manchester United next week.

Diego Simeone’s team are three points ahead of Barcelona who host Osasuna on Sunday but 12 points back from leaders Real Madrid. Real also have a game in hand.

On Tuesday, Atletico go to Old Trafford for a Champions League last 16 tie which is delicately poised at 1-1 after the first leg in Spain last month.

“We had the character to get the result after a first half where we could have done better,” said Simeone.

“But without a doubt, the most important thing is still the victory, especially at this time.

“Cadiz played well, they have improved enormously since the arrival of their new coach but we continue to build the spirit that this team needs to stay competitive.”

Portugal’s Joao Felix gave Atletico the perfect start when he opened the scoring in just the third minute from a pass by Mario Ledesma.

However, 36-year-old striker Alvaro Negredo headed Cadiz level just before half-time.

Rodrigo de Paul sealed the win in the 68th minute.

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