Match preview: Valencia vs. Atlético

Atleti on the cusp of second Europa League final in three years

ATLETICO MADRID STRIKER ADRIAN

Atlético striker Adrián has 10 Europa League goals
(uefa.com)

Atlético will be protecting a 4-2 lead when they square off against Valencia at the Mestalla Thursday evening in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final matchup.

Kick off, on a day which just so happens to be Atlético’s 109th anniversary, is set for 21:05 CET.

Should they hold off their foes, Atleti will be taking part in their second Europa League final in three years, having been crowned kings of the tournament back in May of 2010.

Radamel Falcao struck twice in the first leg last Thursday, taking the Colombian striker to the top of the competition’s scoring chart, while Miranda and Adrián each added a goal apiece. But two stoppage time goals in each half by Jonas and Ricardo Costa left los Che with a heartbeat coming into the return leg of this fixture.

Is this real life?” is a question Atlético fans across the globe have been asking themselves all week long, incredulous as to how a season, which at times had seemingly hit rock bottom – elimination from the Copa del Rey at the hands of Spanish football third-tier outfit Albacete as just one example – has yielded such a positive outcome and that we are only two matches away from lifting our third trophy and participating in our fourth final in just 36 months.

But los Colchoneros have one last stop to make before packing their bags for Bucharest: a Valencian stadium expected to be jam-packed with roughly 52,000 spectators pushing for the home team to erase our two-goal advantage.

But the Rojiblanco faithful in attendance, relatively small in number at about 2,000 to 2,500, will be mighty in spirit as they have proven time and time again in the past, something Atleti winger-turned-right-back Juanfran is well-aware of.

“We know Valencia are only thinking about the comeback and they think they can do it, but we have the same hope and desire they do,” the former Osasuna man told reporters at a club marketing event Tuesday.

“The players are the ones that play the games and we’re going to give our all in Mestalla. Plus, the stadium will also be a bit Rojiblanco because 2,000 of our own fans will be out there.”

Colchonero boss Diego Simeone will have his fantastic four at his disposal. The lethal quartet composed of Falcao, Adrián, Diego and Arda have led the team to a remarkable run of 10 straight victories in UEFA play, a record for the men in red and white.

Can we make it 11?

The Brazilian and the Turk must be extra careful not to see yellow, as a booking for either one would result in suspension for the final–a devastating scenario. Luis Perea and Miranda are on the same boat.

Midfielder Assunçao and winger Pizzi were not handed a train ticket to Valencia through tactical decision, while Fran Mérida is ineligible having played in the Europa League with Braga in the first half of the season.

Antonio López and Sílvio remain out with injuries.

Che coach Unai Emery, who has already reportedly announced to his squad that he would not be returning for the following campaign, is shooting for one last piece to his four-year legacy at the Valencian side.

“It’s a very important match, perhaps the most important one of the year, and that’s how we consider it,” Emery said in the pre-game press conference.

“It’s a game between two very similar teams but with the result from the first leg Atlético are the favourites.”

The 40-year-old then channelled his inner-‘Cholo’.

“It’s a match in which men are above names.”

Are you nervous about the match, or are you relaxed, confident that we will make it to the Romanian capital?

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Sergio Asenjo
Defenders: Godín, Filipe Luis, Domínguez, Perea, Miranda, Juanfran
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Arda Turan, Gabi, Koke, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao, Pedro Martín

Valencia match selection: TBA


  • ratchet

    nervous as hell…

  • Javi Lozoya

    I’m nervous and excited too!, but I think we can win this. We are better and greater than Valencia. We have a strong team spirit and unity no one has. Plus we are commanded by a legendary player and warrior like Simeone. He is a genius. We also have El Tigre Radamel Falcao who never surrenders, he is the world’s best number 9. We also have trickster Adrian, midfield maestros Diego and Arda, young promise and apprentice Koke, valiant Juanfran, The Great Wall of Atleti: Thibaut Courtois, Godin, Miranda, Filipe, Alvaro, legendary captain Perea, legend of the club.
    We are Club Atletico de Madrid and we the best, we takin’ over one city at a time starting with Valencia at Mestalla and Sporting/Bilbao at Bucharest.
    Aupa Atleti!.

  • DavidSf

    Well said Javi L-

  • shlomgar

    relaxed. Expecting a win. Happy birthday Atleti

  • ratchet

    YEEAH!!. Bayern knock real shitid out of the CL!. They won on penalties. No better way for real to get knocked out, the look on their faces was priceless. It was brilliant.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I saw that game!, it was crazy!, Bayern were the better team overall. Then on PK’s, Bayern were leading, Neuer saved two PK’s, then Bayern missed two. Afterwards Ramos missed and Schweisteiger scored the winner. I’m glad for him.

  • Javi Lozoya

    And Cristiana missed a PK. HA, HA!

  • Javi

    Kaka honored his name today and played like caca and missed his penalty

  • Javi Lozoya

    And Ramos too!, his PK was the worse of all of them!, ha,ha,
    watch this:http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/1083246/sergio.gif

  • ratchet

    for those who dont know, he tried a stutter penalty (extremely poor choice in a penalty shootout) and skied his penalty well high of the goal. I was watching with a big smile on my face.

  • Am glad for Beyern win over fucking Real Madrid. I lost control when i saw fucking Cristiana and fucking kaka missed their pk, am over the moon when fucking Ramos shut his pk well off target. Hahaha.
    Atleti lets kick Valencia out of EL like fucking Madrid nd Barca.
    GO ATLETICO U CAN DO IT!!!

  • JUAS

    I´m working. Madrid is cloudy. I could see in my metro travel a lot of sad faces…. my office is in Paseo de la Castellana. But I could see atleti shirts too in way to take the train to Valencia. Madrid is cloudy but our hearts are sunny. AUPA ATLETI¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ DESTINO BUCAREST¡¡¡¡¡

  • Dircil

    @Amed9ja: dont say about Kaka like that, he’s a legend

  • palc

    @ JUAS that was deep bro 🙂

  • leika

    im happy that real lost but i feel for some of the players, i guess we can call real madrid unlucky in cl they have a team and money and they play well but allways slip out. Now its time for Atleti to be the best of Spain in europe

  • There shouldn’t be a major problem to beat them but we should make it comfortably to Romania. Valencia have potential but we are currently on a high so i predict 1-1 and we advance with a 5-3 aggregate score.

  • shlomgar

    I’m waiting for tonight. We shall shine and win this one. Simeone will go with a defensive lineup. We will end first half in a draw and go offensive in the second.
    2-1, Diego and Falcao.

  • Sergio Lopez

    Happy Birthday, Club Atletico de Madrid! Good luck today!

  • kabir

    @Dircil
    Know who you are supporting, buddy. Kaka is an overpaid piece of crap. I remember when he was at AC Milan and promised he would stay for life.
    Not to mention his god stuff should stay off the pitch.

    We are Atleti. We don’t need to have any respect for Kaka

  • Javi Lozoya
  • Javi Lozoya
  • ali_

    2nd one is epic! 😀

  • s

    I am a fan of Valencia and I respect your team.
    but…
    `We are Atleti. We don’t need to have any respect for Kaka`
    `Now its time for Atleti to be the best of Spain in europe`
    what is this atitude? I hate Barca and Real too, but we have to be realistic. And Kaka is still better than most of your players…and ours
    I think you’re too full of yourselves. Your team is good, but even more inconsistent than Valencia. You played your best and Valencia their worst.
    You can support your team in more respectful way.
    I wish you good luck at Bucharest if you pass tonight. I hope not, but you have the best chance.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Kaka is not even a regular starter for Madrid…

  • Javi Lozoya

    No Gabi?. Well, that sucks.

  • kabir

    @s we hate real madrid and everything they represent. kaka is typical real madrid ruining a talented player. i dont care if you support valencia. i dont care if madrid is better. we are atleti. hopefully, if athletic bilbao gets knocked out, we will be the only spanish team in europe.

  • Epoy

    Our first half display of sitting back and playing defensive is giving me a heart attack.. But kudos to our defense especially Miranda…

  • shlomgar

    Well puted Kabir.
    Aupa Atleti!

  • ali_

    i just dont understand why do u have to write to a fanpage, which is not your team’s page. kaka is a moneychasing hypocrite, nothing more. he perfectly fits in real madrid. as kabir said already.

  • k14

    I like this 1st half, Atleti are tiring out the already tired valencia.
    2nd half will be more of an atleti one with alot of counter attacks, or hope so ;p

  • kabir

    either that half was a masterpiece by simeone tactically, or we played like shit. either way, i am freaking out.

  • Epoy

    That was great move by Gabi!!! A clean tackle plus a Canales injury… lol

  • kabir

    i for one am very happy that canales just got injured and was substituted by mathieu. i hope that guy doesnt come around and tell me to respect canales.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Gol Adrian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, we’re almost on the final!!

  • Epoy

    ADriannnnnn!!!!!!!!!! wooooooo!!! Game over!!!!!

  • kabir

    ADRIAN! eres un crack!

  • Javi Lozoya

    That was a beautiful goal, he hit the ball with the outside of his foot

  • Epoy

    Away fans letting their voices heard!

    Aupa Atleti!!!

  • Javi Lozoya

    I’m actually sorry for Canales, he is a promising player. anyways. Let’s just enjoy the game.

  • Dircil

    @kabir: I just respect the our rival :). I’m not that aggressive toward them, Anyway Adrian just scored. Game over Valencia

  • Epoy

    It looks like the Adrian goal sap the fight out of Valencia.. Must not concede though as it would give them hope to fight again…

  • Javi Lozoya

    Cry me a river Jordi Alba

  • Javi Lozoya

    I forgot he used to play for Divelona. The world’s best acting school

  • kabir

    this ref is mental! in the end no penalty..

  • Epoy

    To Bucharest!!!!
    Aupa Atleti!!!

  • Edletico

    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dircil

    we will see Athletic in the final!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Epoy

    Bucharest will be flooding with red and whites… It is sometimes confusing to know Atleti from Atlethic fans…

  • ascky
  • popescu