Match preview: Atlético vs. Beşiktaş

Quarter-final place up for grabs as Atleti take on Simão’s Beşiktaş

Juanfran and Simao

Juanfran may be facing up against Simão (Flickr)

The big games keep on coming for Atlético Madrid, and on Thursday the Vicente Calderón welcomes back an old friend as Beşiktaş make the trip to the Spanish capital.

Former favourite Simão’s return is the main talking point ahead of a game that the Rojiblancos’ will have to play using a considerably weakened squad, deprived of seven first team players for various reasons.

Kick-off is set for the earlier time of 19:00 CET.

In the previous stage of the Europa League, Diego Simeone went back to haunt former team Lazio with a 4-1 aggregate win, and will be looking for similar success against the Kara Kartallar this time round following a disappointing league run.

Saturday’s 1-1 stalemate at Sevilla has cranked up the pressure on the Argentine boss, and a convincing win will be required to give us a cushion going to Istanbul in a week’s time.

As always at this time of the season, injuries are kicking in, which means Cholo has been forced to draft a trio of youngsters into his matchday squad, two of whom have yet to debut in the first team.

Missing for Atlético are long term absentees Diego and Antonio López, the increasingly injury prone Sílvio, and Arda, who will not be able to face his former cross-town rivals after injury with the Turkish national team.

Midfielders Paulo Assunção (suspended) and Tiago will also be unavailable, the latter, with a knock, is also on paternity leave because of the birth of a baby daughter this week. As will be the case for the rest of the season, Fran Mérida cannot play either due to featuring for Braga in the group stages of the competition.

Radamel Falcao does return to the squad after serving his league suspension at the weekend, and reserve team players Saúl Ñíguez (17), Pedro Martín and Kader Oueslati (both 20) come in to make up the numbers.

When quizzed upon the match earlier this morning, Simeone insisted that his squad was still strong enough to win the match, but admitted that it will be tough.

“We go into the Beşiktaş game with great humility,” he said. “They are a difficult opponent with great players.”

Cholo also had encouragement for the included canteranos, who are among six second string players he has called since taking charge in late December.

“In principle we have three kids from the cantera here to give us a hand,” said the 41-year-old.

“They have trained well and can help us if needed.”

Beşiktaş have never won on Spanish soil, and come into the game on a run of three successive losses, albeit against strong opponents. Defeat to Trabzonspor saw them drop to fourth in the Turkish Süper Lig on Sunday, 17 points behind leaders Galatasaray.

Managed by Carlos Carvalhal, the Black Eagles will play the first leg without star striker Hugo Almeida, one of a number of players struggling with injury at the moment.

Compatriot Simão was on the plane however, and is set to line-up in the Calderón for the first time since his departure last year. The Portuguese veteran faced Atleti in a 45 minute friendly back in July, but will experience a much more emotional welcome tomorrow in the stadium he describes as his home.

“This is going to be a very special day, because Atleti is a home for me,” he told Onda Cero.

“I still have a lot of affection for everyone at the club, and if I score, I will not celebrate.”

Another player who could feature is the infamous Júlio Alves, who you may recall transferred to Beşiktaş via Atlético back in the summer without playing or even training for the Colchoneros. The former Rio Ave man has yet to start a match for his new club, but is in Carvalhal’s travelling party.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Asenjo
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Domínguez, Perea, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Salvio, Gabi, Koke, Juanfran, Saúl, Kader
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao, Pizzi, Pedro

Beşiktaş match selection:
Goalkeepers: Rüstü, Cenk, Umut
Defenders: Köybaşı, Toraman, Egemen, Sivok, Sidnei, Atınç
Midfielders: Quaresma, Fernandes, Ernst, Simão, Necip, Ekrem Dağ, Kavlak, Muhammed, Julio Alves
Forwards: Pektemek, Holosko, Edú

Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)

  • Javi Lozoya

    Nice to see some canteranos against Besiktas. Saul, Pedro, Kader, all of them are exciting promising players, and while calling then up for this match doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gonna play, it’s still great for the kids to experience first team football and an international competition like the Europa League. Still hope any of these lads play, Besiktas isn’t a very strong team, I think Lazio was stronger and in case Atleti takes the lead and is winning, I hope Cholo debuts a young player.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Typical of Gil Marin always thinking about the money, we all know those 2M will end up in his pockets.

  • but Javi, thas Five million now so 3m for hosting the copa del rey final and 2M for that so its kinda good when u think about it

  • Mais

    5 mil wud evaporate pretty easily

  • Javi Lozoya

    Of course it’s good Randy but the problem is; where is that money gonna go?, probably not to the club funds.

  • Javi L, I have seen u have join the prediction league and by the way i dont play for a club(sorry bout that) I play for a coaching school;)

  • Javi Lozoya

    Yea I know, you told me already, btw, how is your season going so far?

  • Not very good
    Struggled to produce just one assist in 5 matches
    They are telling me i am Fernando Torres because of my frequent wasting of chances and hitting the bar and forcing a save out of the keeper but I’m only 13 I still have a long way to go.

  • Sorry they are telling me “Now you know how Fernando Torres feels at Chelsea.”;)

  • dgsozkan

    Besiktas is nowhere near the beat Atletico. They are also passing through rough times in TSL. Still , we need to show our best performance in the first game. They have a few quality player, yet if we take it seriously in the begining they wouldn’t cause any problem. It’s always hard to play at İnonü. Besiktas has incredibly effective fans. Still, Lazio is quite stronger team than Besiktas and we are much more stronger team than both of them.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Don’t pay attention to them Randy, just focus on your game believe in yourself and then you’ll see how good you are and things are gonna start working out.

  • shlomgar

    The players should take the game seriously and get a result that will ensure us next round.
    Javi L I’m with you, so great for those young players. I think there’s an opportunity to see one of them, there will probably be no real sub for midfield.
    I miss Diego. Wish he’ll be well…

  • ratchet

    @ Randy, what position do you play?

  • Midfielder Winger Att mid

  • ratchet

    @ Randy, Dont worry bout missing chances. Im not sure how you can know how torres feels as he is a striker who cost 50 mill, ur a midfielder/winger. If you play in midfield, when you get the ball try and slow down the play a bit, it might give you a bit more time to pass or shoot. At corners, stay outside the box, if the ball gets cleared out to you, you will have a bit of space to play in, as the defenders will be expecting you to run in. Its always worth a try.

  • Fenerbahce

    Will Arda, Tiago, Silvio, Diego and Antonio Lopez play against Besiktas in second leg on 15th March?

  • We will run them down like grass! Aupa!

  • leika

    yeah 2:0 hope our youngsters will play in second half. SALVIOOO!!

  • Edletico

    Great performance so far, want a couple of youngsters to come on soon.

  • wow.. 3-0. I’m at work now and can’t watch the match anyway. When I am working from home Atleti doesn’t play like this. blergh… 😀

  • Simao has scored to make it 3-1 our long time boy. Too bad his team is losing because we deserve to beat them and (FYI i never said Besiktas derserve to lose).

  • Javi Lozoya

    Saul is gonna come in!!!

  • Javi Lozoya

    meh :(, it was Dominguez, my bad

  • leika

    why Pizzi???

  • Javi Lozoya

    Now Saul comes in, fuck yeah!!!, Saul Niguezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!

  • Edletico

    Should try and buy Simao in the summer

  • Javi Lozoya

    Te quiero Atletiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!

  • ratchet

    brilliant first half performance, not that great in the second, but i cant see us going out now. Im happy with the win, i just cant see us losing by two goals at istanbul.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Amazing performance from Salvio, Koke and Adrian Lopez, and legend Luis Amaranto Perea deserves an honorific mention, forever a legend for Atleti like it or.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Adrian is a genius!!!, he is an amazing player, he is the future of Atleti and Spain national team.

  • shlomgar

    Yeah Yeah Yeah, good first half, some tactical experimentation in the second, and a fresh new player, I’m so pleased. Adrian goal was the best I saw all year.
    Love this kid!

  • Javi Lozoya

    Grande Luis Amaranto Perea!!!!!

  • dgsozkan

    Besiktas is no match for us as I said before. I’m glad that Saul find a chance to play.

    @Edletico , We definitely should not buy Simao. He is not the same Simao all Atleti fans remembered. Since I’m from Turkey , I know his recent performances very well. And I should say that , if I were Carvalhal , I wouldn’t give Simao a regular place in even Besiktas’ squad.