Atlético Madrid bring the year to a close on Tuesday evening, taking on Segunda B side Guijuelo in the second leg of their Copa del Rey round of 32 clash.
The rojiblancos are 6-0 up from the away leg, but Diego Simeone has named a strong squad as he looks to end 2016 on a high.
Kick-off at the Vicente Calderón is set for 21:00 CET.
Having failed to win or even score in their previous three matches, Atleti returned to winning ways on Saturday afternoon with a 1-0 triumph over Las Palmas.
However, whilst the three points were much needed it wasn’t the most convincing of performances, with problems both in front of goal and in defence still apparent.
It’s fair to say that the red and whites are safely through to the next round of the Copa del Rey having won handsomely away at Guijuelo at the end of November, but tomorrow’s second leg won’t be just a formality for Cholo‘s men.
Judging by the players he has called up, the Argentine is keen to get a solid win and performance in the bank before the new year. None of his squad have been allowed to leave early for their Christmas break.
The main news is the improbably return of Alessio Cerci, who received medical clearance on Tuesday and could play some part in the match according to Simeone.
“I never leave anyone out in the cold, I always want to give players opportunities,” he said when asked about the Italian. “Cerci has been through a rough time and will get a chance.”
Gabi, Diego Godín, Antoine Griezmann are rested, but otherwise it’s more or less full strength with the exceptions of Jan Oblak, Augusto Fernández, Filipe Luís and Tiago who remain injured.
With Christmas coming up and some fans feeling the pinch, Atleti are selling tickets at a reduced price and have offered 10,000 to schools, councils and disadvantaged groups at just €2 each.
Socios aged under 18 can also gain entry for the same price, with adult tickets ranging from €5 to €25. Not a huge amount are still on sale, so there should be a good attendance to see the team into 2017.
It may be the last competitive match of the year, but Atleti will be back in action on December 30th with a friendly in Saudi Arabia against Al-Ittihad, before returning to La Liga action away at Eibar on January 7th.
Before that – barring a miracle Guijuelo comeback – will be the first leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16, with the draw set to take place on Friday.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Moreira
Defenders: Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Cerci, Thomas, Gaitán
Forwards: Torres, Correa, Gameiro