Match preview: Atlético vs. Málaga

Will Atleti keep Champions League hopes alive in their last home game of the season?

atletico striker radamel falcao goes up for a header against malaga's weligton

Falcao goes up for the header against Málaga (EFE)

Though Atlético’s disappointing midweek result against Real Sociedad sapped most of the flair out of Saturday’s clash against Málaga, the match is still a vital one for los Rojiblancos in their quest to guarantee themselves a place in a continental competition for next season.

The final home game of the season gets underway at the same time as all the other Primera Divsión matches will kick off, at 21:00 CET.

While a Europa League title on Wednesday would grant them an automatic berth into next year’s edition of the tournament, a loss could leave los Colchoneros fighting for qualification until the final week, a scenario they can come closer to avoiding if they can take the three points from their foes this weekend.

A victory over their upstart Andalusian opponents would also leave the door open for possible Champions League qualification, making for a thrilling Made-in-Atleti finish to the 2011/12 Liga campaign.

Rojiblanco boss Diego Simeone once again has a bit of a quandary on his hands, this time versus the team he made his coaching debut with Atlético against in an away tie at the Rosaleda that ended in a 0-0 draw back on the 7th of January.

With the Europa League final looming on Wednesday, does Simeone rest key players such as Arda, Diego, Adrián or even Falcao to assure they arrive to Bucharest in one piece, or does he take a final stab at the Champions League and go all out against los Boquerones?

The Atlético legend has, in the past, boldly proclaimed that we take every competition seriously, so it will be interesting to see what approach ‘El Cholo’ will take for this game.

Los Colchoneros announced, through the club’s official Twitter account, that the match selection will not be revealed until Saturday afternoon, but what we do know is that Gabi’s name will not be appearing on it.

About 15 minutes after scoring our opening and only goal against La Real on Wednesday, the Atleti midfielder promptly – within four minutes – saw two yellow cards and was dismissed with a red, forcing him out of this crucial encounter with a one-match suspension.

Tiago, who is banned from the final against Athletic Bilbao, returns from league suspension for this game.

The Spanish press reported Antonio López and Sílvio were finally back in training on Friday, but it’s unclear if they will be fit to take part on Saturday.

Defender Luis Perea, who on Thursday announced he will not be returning for his ninth campaign with Atleti, has been recovering from a hamstring injury and will likely sit this one out.

Rumours in the Spanish media this week seemed to suggest that this could also very likely be the last time leading scorer Falcao suits up in our lovely red and white shirt before the home fans.

El Pais reporter José Marcos ominously wrote on Twitter, “Atléticos of the world, enjoy Falcao for what little is left of the season. You will see him at the Calderón for the last time on Saturday,” without adding any more details.

Is this the end of the Colombian Colchonero connection?

Manuel Pellegrini’s men lead us by five points and have just about locked up European play for next season.

“I can’t say what will happen with Atletico, I can only assure that we will go to try and win the game by playing better than they do,” Pellegrini was quoted as saying by ESPN Soccernet.

“We have never put in place a firm objective, at the moment we have achieved a Europa League place and now we are looking for the Champions League. The team will arrive mentally in very good shape and physically perfect.”

The former Real Madrid coach, when talking about his squad’s condition, is referring to the fact that he rested a host of key players against Barcelona in his side’s 4-1 loss on Wednesday to have a better chance of taking points from this bout against us.

Regular starters Nacho Monreal, Weligton and Joaquín did not see a minute of action against the Blaugrana, while Isco, suspended for that game, also arrives well-rested for this fixture.

Enzo Maresca did not travel to Madrid because of injury.

Atlético match selection: TBA

Málaga match selection:
Goalkeepers: Kameni, Rubén,
Defenders: Gámez, Weligton, Demichelis, Monreal, Sergio Sánchez,
Midfielders: Camacho, Joaquín, Cazorla, Duda, Eliseu, Buonanotte, Isco, Portillo, Recio
Forwards: Van Nistelrooy, Seba, Rondón, Juanmi,

Referee: César Muñiz Fernández


  • Atletico you can do it CL is not over. Aupa Atleti!!!!

  • Javi Lozoya

    Agree with Randy. It’s not over till it’s over!

  • Solari

    I didn’t lose hope yet for the CL…..vamos atléti

  • You need to listen to a song from eminem named youre never over. Thats the situation with atletico right now. 🙂

  • Dircil

    no man, I think we shouldnt play the game with key players, give them more rest for the final europa league. CL is obviously over now. even though we win Malaga, they still beat Gijon, who has already relegated easily

  • Javi Lozoya

    Supposedly Barca has made an offer to Atleti for Adrian swapping Afellay and Botia. Still not good enough. I don’t want Adri to leave us. He is pure genius.

  • leika

    yeah adrian must stay. I mean botia would be really cool but affellay is kinda like a lost talent. No way this deal should be done

  • shay

    Affellay should have joined us when he left PSV. Could have been perfect but he preferd warming benches…

    And what’s that **** about Falcao leaving?? He’s era have not even started in Atletico

  • ali_

    yeah shay, i remember how excited i was when i heard that he might join us. now i have nothing else to say just this: f… y.. ibrahim, i hope u will rot on the barca bench. personally i dont want to see any players like him in our squad, i mean players who signed for barca-real but couldnt played on the same level as they played before that. so now their clubs trying to get rid of them.

  • Dircil

    if Barca wants Adrian for their team, I would say A. Madrid will only exchange that key player with Thiago Alcantara. It’s a good deal, isnt it?

  • nah if adrian goes to barca they’ll have to give people of equal value. Perhaps Tello AND Cuenca for Adrian. 😀

  • Epoy

    ass clown defending we are showing.. Good thing we are not yet punished

  • Epoy

    and ass clown finishing by Falcao…

  • leika

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!

  • Epoy

    what a bad ass goal by Eliseu…

  • leika

    we fcking waste SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many good chances, just shoot from long range or smth but DONT overplay it, we dont need to run into goal

  • Epoy

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLL!!!!!

    Koke!!!!!

  • leika

    KOOOOOOOOOOKEEEEE!!!!!!! so it will be 2:2 again 🙁

  • Epoy

    ^^^

    no, they will be scoring from a corner in the last minute if the injury time

  • Epoy

    GOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!!!!!!!

    Adrian!!!!

  • leika

    ADRIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN

  • leika

    Statistics: Every game Koke has scored this season the game has finished 2:2

  • Epoy

    now, lets wait for Malaga’s equalizer in stoppage time…

  • kabir

    now i feel bad that we dropped all those points. i hope malaga draws against sporting…

  • kabir

    not that this is over yet obviously

  • leika

    fuck close!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kabir

    ahhhhh so lucky!

  • Epoy

    hahahahahaahhah!!! almost!!!

  • leika

    YESSSSSSSS MALLORCA winning against levante

  • Epoy

    thank god.. at least even we played a strong line-up, we got 3 points… Its not in our hands but who knows… I hope the lads still have much in their gas tanks for the EUropa League finals… Lets get our 2nd Europa League trophy!!

    Aupa Atleti!!!

  • told everyone it wasnt over. Now how are you gonna thank me. 😀

  • leika

    and Gijon won against Betis so they are more confident to finish a season with a good result

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    What a break that Malaga’s goal was disallowed…

    But…WE’RE ALIVE AND HAVE A CHANCE AT CHAMPIONS!

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    What a break that Malaga’s goal was disallowed!

    But…WE’RE ALIVE AND HAVE A CHANCE AT CHAMPIONS!

  • kabir

    sporting will be going out for a win next weekend because it is necessary. i hope they can do something.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Yes!!!. I said it too!, don’t forget about me. I knew it wasn’t over. We can do it!

  • kabir

    we must reflect however that malaga should have drawn it. the replays have been shown, and that last offside call was not offside. think about that. all teams have calls made against them, so don’t whine whenever we have calls made against us.

  • @Javi Lozoya,
    It waz because of me you got optimistic. 😛 😀

  • Javi Lozoya

    I’m glad I got you optimistic :), it’s not over til it’s over!

  • ratchet

    No, the replays shown that the first shot struck a malaga player who was in an offside position. It was lucky cos the first shot looked like it was going in, and a malaga player prevented it. It then came off the offside player out to another malaga player, who duly put the ball in the net. It was a fair offside decision. Good result. We are almost certainly playing in europe next season. Think what would have happened if we held it together against sociedad. We would be 4th. But this isnt the time for ifs and maybes. Lets focus on the final and hope gijon can do us a favour.

  • ratchet

    Javi, Randy said HE got YOU optimistic, not the other way round.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I was optimistic before

  • kabir

    @ratchet
    i’m saying that the first shot that struck the player was not in an offside position. watch it again. there is no doubt at all. the commentators agree that there was no offside at all in the play. we must be objective here. we got lucky.

  • kabir

    “Para colmo de males, el equipo andaluz se vio perjudicado por el árbitro después de que éste le anulase un gol en el descuento tras un fuera de juego inexistente de Camacho.”