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Apr 28, 2013

Real set for UCL after derby win

Real Madrid players and coaching staff believe Saturday's 2-1 derby triumph over Atletico will boost their Champions League chances.

• Europe gallery Photo Gallery
• Corrigan: Atletico derbi woes continue
• Blog: Atleti fail to have their day

Jose Mourinho's men head into Tuesday's semi-final second leg against Borussia Dortmund after losing the opening fixture of the tie 4-1 in Germany.

In the meantime, Real shored up second position in the La Liga standings, extending their unbeaten streak over third-placed Atletico to 25 matches.

"We knew it would be a very tense match, also because Atletico have not beaten us for so long, so we played a derby for second place," assistant coach Aitor Karanka said.

"The team played as a unit, fighting together with humility. We knew it would be an intense contest from the first minute. The whole team has done a spectacular job.

"We opted for [Sami] Khedira and Pepe today and they both had spectacular matches. We know our players and when we pick the starting XI, we know what we want to do. Still, we must continue doing our homework till the end of the league.

"We knew that the best way to go into Tuesday's match was by playing well tonight. That is what we'll take away; the work and effort of everyone.

"For Real Madrid. every single match of the season is important. We have to enjoy what we can from this win and as from tomorrow we'll think about Dortmund."

Karanka's sentiments were echoed by Angel Di Maria, who netted the winner against Atletico before dedicating the crucial strike to his wife and daughter.

"We knew that if we lost they would draw level with us and we did things as well as we could to get a decent gap between us and them so we can be calmer. Winning this match is extra motivation for Tuesday.

"The league does not let up. We did everything right and the way we wanted, the coach put out the team that he thought would get the result. Winning this match is extra motivation and will help us to be at our best on Tuesday".

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