Atlético will face off against Catalan side RCD Espanyol today, in the final of the 56th edition of the Carranza Trophy at 22:15 (GMT/UTC + 01:00 hour).
The Rojiblancos defeated hosts Cádiz on Friday evening 1-1, and went through 6-5 on penalties. Espanyol fended off current holders Sevilla last night. The game ended 1-1, but Espanyol went through 4-1 in the shootout.
This will be the first time that Atlético have met Espanyol in the Carranza. A victory for Atleti would give us our record ninth title, and would help to maintain our tradition of dominance in this illustrious summer competition.
Los Periquitos are after their second Carranza championship, having last lifted the massive trophy in 1973 following a 1-0 win over Athletic Club de Bilbao in the final.
Today marks the one year anniversary of Espanyol defender Daniel Jarque’s tragic passing. Dani’s teammates are expected to pay homage to their fallen captain by wearing his number 21 on their kits.
Both semifinals of the annual preseason event featured penalty kick shootouts—unsurprising, considering there is no extra time played after 90 minutes.
Joel Robles, filling in for David de Gea who is away on international duty with Spain U21s, was a rock at the back on Friday night, offering some much needed security to a weak defensive back four.
The 20-year old goalie came up big for us— making several key saves throughout the game, the most important of which came in the penalty shootout. The young Spaniard got his body behind Tiri’s penalty, ensuring Atlético’s place in the final.
Reflecting on the save, Joel humbly told AS yesterday:
“Saving a penalty in the Carranza is just that, saving a penalty, but it’s important for me because of the confidence I gain from it.”
Espanyol goalkeeper Carlos Kameni was also instrumental in his club’s qualification to the tournament final.
The Cameroon international correctly dived to his left and saved forward Álvaro Negredo’s 83rd minute penalty shot, preventing Sevilla from taking a late 1-2 lead. He later crucially stopped Romaric’s penalty in the shootout.
Despite the veteran’s masterful performance, backup keeper Cristian is expected to replace him in the final and will be looking to convince manager Mauricio Pochettino that he is worthy of the starting spot.
Fans will no doubt be eagerly anticipating the debut of left back Filipe Luis in today’s starting lineup, after manager Quique Sánchez Flores left us without a glimpse of our new acquisition on Friday. Even if he doesn’t start, the Brazilian will surely get to make an appearance before full time.
Play Quique: What would your ideal starting eleven be today?