Match preview: Betis vs. Atlético

Rojiblancos looking to avoid Europa League hangover in tough Betis trip

Diego shoots against Betis

Diego could be a fitness doubt in Seville
(colchonero.com)

Atleti return to La Liga action on Sunday evening after our Europa League exploits, and with a top-four finish still a realistic target, victory will be seen as a must when we travel south to play Real Betis.

Kick-off in the Benito Villamarín is set for the unfamiliar time of 19:45 CET.

On Thursday, our place in a third European final in as many seasons was confirmed as Adrián’s wonder-strike sent Valencia out of the competition, but Simeone and his team can’t afford to lose focus as we enter the crucial stage of our league campaign.

Despite having won four on the bounce since that humiliating derby defeat earlier this month, players are likely to be suffering from fatigue and changes may have to be kept to a minimum as we fight to keep our Champions League aspirations alive.

With Málaga taking on Valencia before we kick-off tomorrow afternoon, we could have the chance move to within just a point of the top four ahead of Manuel Pellegrini’s side’s trip to the Calderón next weekend.

However, the Atlético match selection does suggest we could perhaps see a few players rested, one of whom being Diego who picked up a slight knock in the Mestalla two days ago.

Surprisingly, Cholo has opted to bring in the playmaker from our Juvenil A team Oliver Torres as extra cover for the Brazilian, and B-team striker Pedro keeps his place for the sixth match in a row.

The selection of Oliver is particularly interesting, as although the 17-year-old had a stellar season in our youth team’s title conquest, he has yet to even feature for the reserves, and may now miss Monday’s Copa de Campeones clash against Las Palmas for his regular side.

As has been the case in recent weeks, Pizzi, Fran Mérida and Paulo Assunção all stay in Madrid because of technical decision and after sustaining a muscle injury in training yesterday, Luis Perea will also be unavailable.

Simeone, 42 today, admitted in his press conference that the team could benefit from a rest after months of non-stop football, but refused to take the game lightly.

“At the moment we are taking each game as it comes, and we will be completely focused on the Betis match tomorrow,” he stressed. “The players made a great effort on Thursday and we have had little time to recover, but this is a very important game.”

The Argentine was also asked whether he thought the Verdiblancos could be affected by a lack of motivation given their league position and midweek clash with neighbours Sevilla, but laughed off the suggestion.

“Betis are a very competitive team and still need points to confirm their safety,” he said.

“I don’t think they will be looking more towards the derby, but that’s up to them.”

For their part, Betis have named a strong squad for the match, but will be without the suspended Jorge Molina and José Dorado, both of whom saw red in their 4-0 defeat at Valencia last week.

Returning to the squad is youngster Alejandro Pozuelo, a goalscorer in their 2-0 win in the Calderón back in December, as well as defender José Isidoro.

Portuguese full-back Nelson was quoted earlier in the week, and the former Benfica man backed up Simeone’s view that his team would not be prioritising the game in the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.

“All the talk is about the derby, but Atlético is just as important for us,” he insisted. 

“The fans talk a lot about Sevilla, but the team is thinking about the next match as we want to forget last week’s loss.”

After the game, Atleti will return to Madrid to prepare for successive home matches against Real Sociedad and Málaga, before the Europa League final in just 11 days time.

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

Betis match selection:
Goalkeepers: Fabricio, Casto
Defenders: Amaya, Nahco, Isidoro, Chica, Paulão, Nelson
Midfielders: Salva Sevilla, Beñat, Iriney, Cañas, Pozuelo, Matilla, Jefferson
Forwards: Rubén Castro, Santa Cruz, Pereira

Referee: José Antonio Teixeira Vitienes

Head on over to the AtléticoFans Prediction League to give us your prediction for Betis vs. Atlético!


  • Glad to see some of our young colchoneros on the bench. Hope Oliver gets a start as well as Pedro. Come on atleti lets kick their asses!!!

    Aupa Atleti!!

  • leika

    so excited for Oliver and tomorrows match, hope we play well and concentrated

  • I’ve got massive respect for Betis, I hope we can win in style! Aupa Atléti!

  • Dircil

    As said by the author, some key players should take some rest, especially Falcao. I want him to come as fresh as impossible for the final match in Europa League. This must be the most important match of the season.

  • Dircil

    oops, * as fresh as possible, 🙂

  • Javi Lozoya

    I’m glad for Oliver, he is the brightest jewel in Atleti’s cantera. I hope he plays some minutes as well as Pedro Martin. I think Pedro might play to give Falcao a rest. I’m looking forward to see Pedro debut finally in La Liga. Hope he scores!!.
    Aupa Atleti Siempre!!

  • Javi Lozoya

    Here’s a recent video I found about Oliver; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiWoRRNlea0. It’s from February of this year.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Here’s another one when Oli was 10; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReeJo3sJRak.
    In that video you can already see glimpses of Oliver even though he was just 10.
    Oli is a pretty impressive young player. I really wish he succeeds at Atleti. He deserves it.

  • Javi Lozoya

    And here’s another one; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QC680J60w0&feature=related. This pretty similar to the first one. In fact, is the same one.

  • Javi Lozoya
  • Javi Lozoya

    Today is Simeone’s birthday. He turns 42. Happy birthday Mr. Simeone!!, Grande Cholo!!. Diego Pablo Siemone!!
    http://i48.tinypic.com/ra47jl.jpg

  • palc

    His birthday should give our boys the motivation to grab all three points. If we win this, I think we’ll have a 50/50 chance of making it to Champions League.

  • rojiblanco93

    If we win the Euro League , are we directly qualified for CHampions League??

  • ratchet

    no, we would be qualified for the europa league next year

  • Sebyk

    @rojiblanco93: Not at all, as Europa League winners we would get the chance to defend the title next year, even though it’s rather an exception (it is assumed that EL winners are good enough to finish among the best teams in their league and grab the position ensuring them qualification to at least EL on their own)

  • ascky
  • Metro

    I think we shouldn’t rest our top guns just yet. We still could get a CL place in the league and until we got that chance, we have to try.

    If we win all our matches, we got pretty decent chances.

  • Well some ‘ goodish ‘ news zaragoza are 2-0 up against athletci bilbao. I hope it remains like that.

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/match/_/id/323706?cc=3888

  • Sinan

    I think it’s impossible to qualify for CL, since Levante has a very ease schedule. Don’t think Levante is going to waste points. They will win al of their remaining matches.

  • @ SINAN

    I think you are wrong. Levante has Athletic at home Mallorca away and Real Zaragoza at home in and in those games they should only get maximum points against zaragoza they will lose to mallorca and draw with bilbao but i guess you’re right. We can win all of our remaining games. It is very possible

    Aupa Atleti!!!

  • shlomgar

    @Metro: I’m with you. We must take responsibility about our domestic tournaments once and for all! It’s as important as our final game. If we win today we are entering a final three heads race for 4th.
    Aupa Atleti!!!

  • Yes!!!!! Athletic lost 2-0 to Zaragoza today. So if we win we will be a good way above them but sadly…….. they ahve the better head to head record against us if the points are level. 🙁

  • Javi Lozoya

    Yes!!!!! Fernando Torres scored a hat trick!!!!!, here’s the video:http://www.101greatgoals.com/gvideos/hat-trick-fernando-torres-3-v-qpr/. I’m glad for him. Seems he his recovering his old form and that’s great because he was a world class striker. Probably one of the bests at that time.
    Grande El Niño!!!!!

  • shlomgar

    Just saw Camacho score against VaLencia. I think this is his revenge for his bad time with us. Hope not…

  • palc

    Nacho Camacho hasgiven Malaga the lead. Our very own Nacho. Would still like to see him back at Atleti. Better player than Suarez I think.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Nah, he only plays because Toulalan is injured. If he wasn’t then Camacho would be on the bench. He might be better than Mario but there are still better players than him. For example Javi Marquez. Rumor says Atleti is close to sign him. It’s better for Nacho and Atleti to just stay at Malaga.
    Fer from the B, is better than him and deserves a chance and would be a free signing.

  • ratchet

    If we dont score one of these soon we will regret it. If we dont wi tonight CL is over. Need to be more clinical.

  • Epoy

    Kokeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ratchet

    KOKE!!! 1-0!!

  • Epoy

    wewwwwww!!! almost caught in the counterattack…

  • Epoy

    that was BS!!!

  • ratchet

    we’ve thrown it away.

  • davidsf

    fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck…..

    another season down the drain…

  • Javi Lozoya

    Damn. Pozuelo scores against us once again. We should sign that kid. Could be the next Silva or Mata

  • Javi Lozoya

    Shit. And know Pereira scores. That’s great.

  • Matthijs

    Fucking hell!

  • Javi Lozoya

    I guess this is what we got for not scoring our chances.

  • Javi Lozoya

    We were so close. Betis GK Fabricio was even on our side…

  • davidsf

    we deserve it. should’ve been at least 3-0 up at one point. Another damn season down the drain. To be honest- i dont care abut europa league- it takes a toll on la liga efforts! another damn season down the drain.

  • Matthijs

    No Champions League, that is shit!

  • leika

    2: 2 still not enough

  • Javi Lozoya

    Goal Falcao!!!!!!!!!!

  • leika

    how do we fail in all those easy games during the whole season

  • Epoy

    not ecstatic about that very late equalizer.. Should have won that one and deservingly so.. Should have put that away earlier..

  • Matthijs

    We had to win against Gijon, Santander, Betis, Zaragoza! We missed to many chances! How is it possible?

  • davidsf

    AHH ATLETI! PORQUE SOMOS DEL ATLETI???

    I can’t take this shit!

  • Sinan

    Like i said before, it’s impossible to qualify for CL. And even if we manage to qualify then we will face the same scenario as Villareal did. We give away 2 goals in 3 minutes in such a crucial game, against a club that nearly escaped degradation last season. We don’t deserve it !

    To all Levante fans, congratulations with your CL ticket. You guys deserved it more then we do.

  • Epoy

    Bilbao are starting to rest their starters… We should also start resting are main players for Europa CUp finals… Champions League is mathematically possible but we have to rely to much on other results… I say screw it and lets concentrate on getting that Europa League trophy…

  • Sinan

    @ davidsf

    I respect your sympthatie and love for Atletico, but how the hell can you say ‘ we deserved it ‘ if you give away 2 freaking goals in 3 minutes to a club that nearly escaped degradation last season !!!!

  • davidsf

    i meant we deserved to lose/draw by not putting our chances away- and falcao staying up and not going down after the keeper knicked him- in the end we lost- no champions league- i find it difficult to keep falcao, diego etc. etc.

  • ratchet

    hey, ill take that equaliser. It puts us 6th, 6 points away from malaga, but they have barcelona and we play them the game after, if we beat them and barca do we will be ahead of malaga on head-2-head. Levente can drop more than 3 points. We need to win all our remaing fixtures. That point could be vital. We deserve all 3, but i thought we had lost the game for certain. Courtois was poor, he hardly had anything to do but that was a horrendous save attempt. It should be on a bloopers dvd. Lets move on, knowing we were seconds away from it being much worse.

  • davidsf

    i am so pissed off- we can still make champs league if malaga lose at barcelona next week, lose to us the following week- while we win out and levante slip up.

    haha wishful thinking-

    i can’t stop laughing because i am so upset- we always pull this crap!!!!

  • Javi Lozoya

    Mathematically we’re not out of Champions League qualification you know, but only a miracle is gonna make us qualify for it

  • davidsf

    i’m glad i have all you fellow atleti knuckleheads to be with. i felt like the world stopped when betis put in 2 in 2 minutes.

    i do not know why i keep loving atleti. i blame it on my ex gf who is from chamartin (real madrid territory) who got me into.

  • Javi Lozoya

    This is not a season that “goes to the drain”, we’re in the Europa League final which is a big accomplishment considering we have a short squad.

  • @ Ratchet-

    I dont think Barca will cause much of a problem for malaga because remember that Real Madrid would have already won the titleand other results has to go our way and we must make OUR results go our way by winning.

    Atleti I haven’t lost hope yet! If we lose one more we’re over but if we win we back in it

    Aupa Atleti!!!! Grande El cholo!!!!!!!
    Go atleti you can do it!!

  • Javi Lozoya

    This is what we need to qualify for Champions League and win the Europa League: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sonJKpT_XHE.
    Fucking epic!!!!!, Grande Don Luis Aragones el mas grande!!!!!, Aupa Atleti!!!!!, Grande el Cholo!!!!!, We the best!!!!!

  • Epoy

    Still can’t get over that game we have thrown away… Supporting ManU, Barca, RM and other big clubs is an easy way out but we follow our heart rather than our natural glory-hunting human instincts.. We love Atleti and will always support it no matter what the result.. Still, it sucks not to win as much as the other big clubs but it only makes our victories sweeter.

  • k14

    CL still possible, but look at the bright side of the situation… if things don’t go our way next round, we can just rest our starters when playing Malaga.
    Which would help Atleti win the EL hopefully ;p