Group B | Matchday 6
In an extreme situation, the rojiblanco team gambles 20 million euros and its continuity in the Champions League and in the second continental competition
In the absence of football and, with the loss of three of their four centers in a defense that does not stop shaking and failing, Atlético de Madrid clings to “character” in their European ‘final’ against Porto at Do Dragao. In one of the most decisive matches of the Simeone era, which began a decade ago and this Tuesday is threatened by a failure that could even leave Atlético out of continental competitions after the first phase of the Champions League. The rojiblanco team is playing at least 20 million euros and, like Porto, their continuity in the Champions League, which will only ensure if they beat the Portuguese team and Milan do not beat Liverpool at the San Siro by one goal less.
Atlético therefore faces an extreme situation and does so in one of its worst moments with Simeone at the helm, with very bad feelings before being forced to bend the current leader of the Portuguese league and wait for a favor from Liverpool, already leader of the group, which will reserve several holders in Milan. After only one victory in five games in the Champions League to be bottom, Atlético are on the ropes, almost at the expense of a miracle to qualify for the last 16, and at the risk of not even entering the Europa League.
However, Atlético clings to the attitude, to its winning mentality, to its psychological strength now so touched and at a really critical moment, and to the talent of its attack when the defense has lost solidity and in Do Dragao it will have nothing less than four absences: lateral Trippier and central Savic, Giménez and Felipe.
“I have a group of men who will surely know how to move forward in order to win,” said Simeone on Monday. “I train with them, I know their character and I trust them,” proclaimed the Argentine coach, while Marcos Llorente recalled that “this team has already shown that it has enough character and personality to get out of these situations forward.” Although pessimism surrounds the fans given the negative streak of play and results and the lack of forcefulness in both areas, especially behind and set pieces, the mattress squad says they have faith.
However, in order not to suffer another hit, Atlético will need more than believe, because as the rojiblanco coach acknowledges, “Porto is very strong defensively and very balanced in the middle of the field, which generates an intense game that good speed of play.” “Porto are the most favorite of all, because they have more points than Milan and us,” stressed the coach of a team that is no longer reliable and is on the brink of the abyss in the great competition.
Diogo Costa, Joao Mário, Mbemba, Pepe, Zaidu, Sérgio Oliveira, Vítor Ferreira, Luis Díaz, Otávio, Taremi and Evanilson.
Atlético de Madrid:
Oblak, Llorente, Kondogbia, Hermoso, Lodi, Correa, Koke, De Paul, Lemar, Griezmann and Luis Suárez.
Clément Turpin (Francia).
Stadium and schedule:
Do Dragao. 21:00 h. (Movistar Champions League).