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Costa starts for Atletico in Champions final
Atletico's Diego Costa starts Champions League final; Ronaldo, Bale lead Madrid attack
Associated Press
2014-05-25 03:01 AM

LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa is in the starting lineup for the Champions League final after recovering from an injury, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale will lead Real Madrid's attack alongside Karim Benzema.

Atletico's leading scorer limped off with a hamstring injury last weekend in the draw at Barcelona that clinched the Spanish league title, but was cleared fit to play in Lisbon after a week of intense treatment. However, Atletico midfielder Arda Turan missed Saturday's match at the Stadium of Light because of a sore hip.

Ronaldo, who has scored a record 16 times in the tournament this season, returns for the first time since May 7 because of a leg injury. Benzema recovered from a hamstring injury to start while Sami Khedira fills in for the suspended Xabi Alonso in Madrid's midfield.

Madrid chose center back Raphael Varane over Pepe, who has been bothered by a calf problem.

Costa has scored 36 goals for Atletico this season, including eight in the Champions League. He had horse placenta treatment on his right thigh this week, and coach Diego Simeone chose to gamble on his fitness despite the striker having had to leave games early twice during the end of the season.

Turan trained on Friday but appears to have failed to recover from a hip problem. Forward Raul Garcia takes Turan's place, with David Villa partnering Costa in attack.

Ronaldo, Benzema, and Bale have combined to score 95 goals this season as Madrid's dangerous attack will look to break down Spain's top defense.

In the first Champions League final that is also a city derby, Madrid is chasing its record 10th European Cup while Atletico is looking for its first.

___

Lineups:

Real Madrid: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Dani Carvajal, Fabio Coentrao, Sami Khedira, Luka Modric, Angel Di Maria, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Atletico Madrid: Thibaut Courtois, Diego Godin, Miranda, Juanfran Torres, Filipe Luis, Koke, Tiago, Gabi Fernandez, Raul Garcia, Diego Costa, David Villa.

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