Atletico Madrid 3 - 1 Zenit St. Petersburg

Match info: Champions League - Group G at Vicente Calderon

Date: 18/09/2013 KO: 19:45 Ref: W Collum Att: 32,000

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

A Madrid

Miranda 40
Arda Turan 64
Leo Baptistao 80

3
vs
1

Zenit

Hulk 58

FT (ht: 1-0)

  • Last Updated: September 17 2013, 12:11 BST

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is eager to fulfil a childhood dream when he makes his Champions League debut in tomorrow's home opener against Zenit St Petersburg.

Thibaut Courtois: On loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea
Thibaut Courtois: On loan at Atletico Madrid from Chelsea

The Belgium international will get the chance to test himself against Europe's elite after the 21-year-old played a major role in helping Atletico finish third in La Liga last term.

Courtois, who is in his third season on loan at Atletico from Chelsea, enjoyed a stellar campaign that saw him win the Zamora award as the best goalkeeper in Spain.

"I have wanted to play in the Champions League since I was young and I am especially enthusiastic to play in this competition with Atletico," Courtois said on the club's official website, www.atleticomadrid.com.

Atletico have made a strong start on the domestic front and currently lead the way in the Primera Division alongside defending champions Barcelona having taken 12 points from four games.

Despite selling star striker Radamel Falcao to Monaco this summer, Diego Simeone's side has struck 14 goals in four games while giving away just four.

Courtois has been encouraged by their recent performances and is relishing the prospect of seeing Atletico compete in Europe's top competition after a three-year absence.

Atletico will also come up against FC Porto and Austria Vienna in Group G.

"We want to go far in the competition," he said."But we know we have to take it one game at a time and be humble.

"It is important to get off to a good start."

New signing David Villa, who scored in Saturday's 4-2 triumph over Almeria, is set to partner Diego Costa up front.

Rivals Zenit travel to the Vicente Calderon stadium looking for their first win in Spain after five failed attempts.

The Russians have also enjoyed an excellent start to their domestic campaign with Saturday's 2-0 victory over Terek Grozny lifting Luciano Spalletti's outfit to second in the Russian Premier League.

"We are playing better and better every match," Spalletti said.

"But we are still making some mistakes and we cannot afford to make those against teams like Atletico."

If they are to progress from the group stages, Zenit will have to show a vast improvement on the road this time round than with respect to last season when they lost four of their five away matches in the Champions League.

Spalletti will be hoping Danny can continue his goalscoring form with the Portuguese striker having found the net six times in Zenit's last eight games.

Brazilian forward Hulk is doubtful with a hip injury.

"He is still recovering but we hope that he will be in good form for the match in Madrid," Spalletti said.


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