Match preview: Barcelona vs. Atlético

Rojiblancos face an uphill task to qualify for Copa del Rey final

All to play for in the Camp Nou

All to play for in the Camp Nou

A never say never Atleti side fight an inform Barcelona for a ticket to the Copa del Rey finals on Tuesday night.

After a hard fought loss at the Vicente Calderon last week, Atlético Madrid will face the Catalan giants at their home stadium tomorrow with the goal to claw their way to their first final of 2017.

Kick-off in the Camp Nou is set for 21:00 CET.

Barcelona has undoubtedly been in form, with back to back wins including a weekend win against a tough Athletic Bilbao side. Goals by Paco Alcacer, Messi and Alex Vida put the game away for the Catalonians.

Atlético faced newly promoted Leganés early last Saturday evening. Much like Barcelona, los Colchoneros took a victory over the weekend thanks to two goals by Fernando Torres

The first leg of the Copa del Rey battle between the two Spanish sides looked grim from an Atleti standpoint. Luis Suárez struck early into the match with a wonderful solo goal, leaving not only Godín, but also his Montenegrin centre-back partner Savic in the dust.

After the goal Atleti struggled to put up shots on goal for the entirety of the first half. To make things worse, Messi struck again for the blue and reds. It was a moment of brilliance, a trade mark golazo from outside the box, a rocketed left foot shot into the top net.

The half-time whistle blew and Atlético faced a mountain of a situation ahead of them. However in typical fashion, the Calderon and its players did not give in nor give up.

As the players left the tunnels and entered the pitch it was clear that Cholo had made a change both physically and mentally.

Torres has been subbed on in exchange for Croatian newcomer Vrsaljko and the players looked ready for “battle” with a new energy encompassing them.

“Gentlemen you can play good or bad, but there are more than 55,000 people that have come to see how you give everything that you’ve got, to see how you die for the Atlético Madrid shirt.

“Do not worry about the result, go out there and defend this badge, because that represents the 50,000 that are here”. (Speech given by Simeone during the half time break, according to COPE)

Atléticos new energy was not in vain, they were rewarded with a second half goal, albeit controversial. Greizmann headed home early in the second period.

The play started as a set piece floated in by Gabi, which was then headed across the goal by “Godin, Airlines Incorporated” (he has a knack of flying into headers) to find the Frenchmen in a pocket of space.

In reality It was a play that looked more like a volleyball strategy than that of Soccer, but it was a beautiful goal none the less. It must be said however that there was a possible foul on Suárez by Koke, which was apparently not seen nor considered by the referee or any of his assistants.

The second half had many a chance to level the home team. However luck was not on the Calderón’s side and the match ended 2-1 thanks to late heroics from Moyá stopping a well-placed free kick from Messi.

The second leg will be a true test of the “never stop believing” mantra. Simeone said during his after game press conference last Wednesday that “I have no doubt that we are alive, there is game to be played”.

The Atlético fans will back his statement. Just look at last year’s champion’s league fixtures against German giants Bayern Munich.

Not many outside of the team and its supporters really believed that Atlético would go through to the next stage. But “we” did, and against all odds the red and whites pulled through and continued to the finals.

Atlético fans will be hoping that history repeats it’s self this Tuesday. There is arguably no better team with any better coach for these types of situations.

El Cholo is a mastermind of the two leg fixtures. He will no doubt have a plan up his sleeve to combat the likes of MSN and co.

However, he will be without captain Gabi due to suspension, although Thomas is back from the African Cup of Nations and Lucas – following his well documented legal issues – is also in the squad.

Neymar misses out for Barcelona also because of a suspension.

There is no doubt that it will be a difficult task, some might say even a monumental one, however as Atlético fans will tell you, we will never stop believing!

In the historic words of Don Luis Aragonés, all that is left to do is “Ganar, ganar y volver a ganar!”#

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers
: Moyá, Moreira
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran
Midfielders: Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Thomas, Gaitán, Juan Moreno
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa, Gameiro


  • STALKER

    This seems good both with offense and defense.

    Correa-Torres
    Griezmann
    Koke-Thomas-Gaitán
    Filipe-Lucas-Godín-Juanfran
    Moyá

  • Khan

    I believe atletico should go the Italian way.. 3-5-2
    with three central defense system.
    Even though our wing backs are crucial, they no longer provide enough in the attack… So I think this may be a winning combination with even miser defence.
    Moya
    Lucas – Godin – Savic
    Carrasco – Thomas – Koke – Saul- Gaitan
    Correa – Griezmann

  • STALKER

    Correa takes the penalty!

  • Ahmad Musa

    All the best my beloved ATL. Kick Barça ass out please let play the second half of the 1st leg. Masha Allah Thomas is back with the squad after a great Afcon. Time for Saul to have some rest. I will like this line up
    Moya
    Juanfran – Godin – Lucas -Luis
    Gaitan -Thomas – Koke
    Carrasco – Torres – Griezmann
    4-3-3
    Correa as super sub.

  • Ahmad Musa

    I will like to see this line up also but Luis in place of Savic, Gaitan in place of Saul, Correa in place of Gaitan, and Torres to play as the second striker. What a formation.

  • Dawa

    Torres should take it. I haven’t seen him miss a penalty in Atleti shirt yet…

  • STALKER

    Neuer

  • Chewie

    Given that it’s quite hard to not concede against Barca, we should hope for 2-1 and for half an hour more of intense football. Hopefully Simeone will make the guys’ blood pumping and we’ll see a real battle.

  • Vagabond Messi

    You forgot one thing that 352 also have fullbacks in 5 of the midfield ,so does 343. In modern football every system needs width to exploit due to fast nature of game. I’d like us to play .

  • George

    Let’s hope for an intense match..since we like passion lately..When both Carrasco and Gaitan are on the pitch who do you think should start on the left.?

  • Khan

    I would like to watch Carrasco in left wing. Bcoz Gaitan is versatile enough to be in right wing too unlike the case of Carrasco.
    In initial stages of season Carrasco was tearing apart the opposition defense with amazing pace and control.
    Now it hurts to see him getting less minutes due to drop in form after that December injury. Hope he does miracle comeback today. Atletico Go!

  • STALKER

    It’s sad that this guy fell off. He will probably only score 23-25 goals this season. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icBhJEPQlOM

  • STALKER

    Barca will win.

  • AndersAT

    If we get a goal now, this game will be wide open. Why don’t we play like this every game…

  • STALKER

    Atleti will put up a fight. They don’t have what it takes to finish it off though.

  • Chewie

    Excellent football! A bit unlucky though with all these half-chances.

  • AndersAT

    Perhaps… right now I wouldn’t be surprised if we could.

  • Chewie

    Barcelona, however, knows exactly what to do. Sitting back with a comfy 1.5-goal lead, waiting for us to slip up.

  • Ahmad Musa

    Is Atletico am i watching or another team. What a match we are playing just goal lacking. God help us with the goals.

  • AndersAT

    Could have been a penalty…

  • Chewie

    Carrasco looks off, Saul weak as usual. Could use some subs.
    Sadly, Barca’s taken the game under control, we’re starting to commit too many fouls.
    And here comes the goal. Three men around Messi with Suarez unmarked…
    The task, however, stays the same – score twice.

  • STALKER

    Simeone’s masterplan 😉

  • MessiMurderer

    As usual, we’re playing against 12. If the same foul would be commited on Messi, they would have gotten the penalty.

  • Joa Andrew

    Once again, Messi the difference maker. Carrasco hasn’t been doing good, either Gameiro or Correa in after hopefully..

  • Joa Andrew

    Honestly not surprised, in UCL, Idk how Iniesta didnt get a card for the handball.

  • STALKER

    Why didn’t Correa and Thomas start? What does Simeone have against them?

  • Joa Andrew

    I’m guessing for Thomas that it’s because he recently came back. As for Correa, he’d be the better one to have starting. But I rather have Thomas instead of Saul. But Saul isnt doing too bad right now.

  • Hannu

    Actually Saul has been great.

  • Hannu

    How Saul has been weak?

  • Chewie

    Don’t know, maybe not, I saw a couple of good moves from him in the beginning, but then lost track of the guy.

  • Chewie

    Yeah, you’re actually right, he’s definitely stepped up.

  • Kris

    Carrasco is so daft. What the fuck is the purpose of that shit tackle?

  • Chewie

    Jesus, Carrasco’s worst game for Atletico.

  • STALKER

    Correa better LW

  • jodo

    Hindsight is 20/20 but did have a bad feeling that it was Torres who was subbed. Yes, he played 90 minutes this past weekend so it made sense to take him out, especially at this stage of his career. But didn’t feel right with a very short frontline. Now Carrassco off…

  • jodo

    Also, that Griezmann goal was perfectly fine. Real robbery there.

  • jodo

    I’m just going to assume Atleti don’t want to win this game…

  • Chewie

    Unbelievable.

  • STALKER

    It’s Simeone’s fault.

  • STALKER

    1-1 Still not good enough though.

  • colmiak

    seriously I yelled wtf gameiro after he scored bc why can’t they just score the fucking penalties
    I mean sure he probably wouldn’t have scored right now if he had scored the penalty but then again he might have!!

    we need a penalty taker!!

  • jodo

    Even with the missed penalty, Atleti should be winning this game 1-2 as Grizzi’s goal was onside.

  • Kris

    This really should have been a W for Atletico. But you can see there is improvement in the attack with more attackers playing and very good at the back as well. This was our match but terrible finishing and horrible officiating cos us the win. Good game guys. We should move forward with this. Good performance.

  • STALKER

    Who do you think was the Atleti MOTM?

  • Itsik

    Very proud of the players today. That’s the fighting spirit I want to see from Atleti. So close!! Missed penalty, disallowed goal. We were far far better than Barcelona today.

  • Hannu

    Absolutely proud of team! This is the fighting spirit of Atleti! We were totally better team and should have won.

  • Joa Andrew

    Yeah, he had a good game. Carrasco should have been subbed..

  • Karlp

    has been a really long time since I enjoyed watching our match. Please play like this forever.
    Despite some of the misses, everyone plays good. Koke or Correa MoTM.

  • Joa Andrew

    I’m proud of the performance Atleti had today. Hopefully we can bring this mentality to UCL. I really hope Oblak comes back in time.

  • Koke

    This game was painful to watch but I’m proud of our team. We were the better team over two legs by far, especially today. The referee was Barca’s best player. Luck was their second best player. Torres shouldn’t have been subbed off. Correa is really special.

    This all comes down to the stupidity of the starting lineup of last game. Besides that first half when we shot ourself in the foot by inviting pressure from them, conceding 2 goals, we have completely destroyed their defense.

    Just one of those games where nothing goes our way. But we can really win the Champions league if we
    1) Keep starting this same formation.
    2) Stop being so defensive.
    3) Learn to finish.
    4) Learn to take penalties.

    Sad game, but now there is no fucking excuse for anyone to say that our team isn’t capable of playing well when we need to. Wasting these players with shit tactics is blasphemy.

  • STALKER

    He will be back 2 days before the 2nd leg.

  • AnonX

    When the penalty didn’t go in that was it for me. To their credit we managed to pull one back but this kind of uncorrected inadequacies long foreseen will be costing us important games in the future. The sad part was we obviously have been much much better than this.

  • Roberto

    Shit, atleti should have used this great opportunity to win. Atletis last title was la liga 2014, allready 3 years ago. This year just CL left, where atleti allready has a trauma. Real madrid will win this year la liga, they won last year UCL, Barca won UCL, 2x la liga and it seems 3x copa del rey from 2015-2017. This means atletis only chance not to being completely dominated again by real and barca is to win the UCL this year, a hercules-task! It is very very hard for atleti to compete with real and barca, espacially on spanish level. One key reason ist that in the end spanish referees give real and barca allways in the critical situations special preferred treatment. This is normally not so obvious like today in the direct games against atleti, but week for week in the games against the teams which do not really compete for the titles. And the challangers of real madrid and barca suffer a big competitive disadvantage, because they do not have this preferred treatment in their games against all the other la liga teams. I am not sure, if this is systematic (eg a hidden order of mightey cliques) or only psychological. If a referee or a linesman is not sure about a certain situation, he is allways better off, if he decides for real mad or barca, because thes 2 clubs together own 66 % of spanish supporters, they own all the power of the economic sponsors and they own tons of political power. If slow motions shows, that the referee made a horrible mistake in favour of real or barca, he will have a week bad media, but he will not loose his position, he can go on in his career easily. If slow motion shows that a referee makes an obvious mistake in favour of a little team challenging real or barca, he will earn extreme pressure, the medias marca and as will kill him, if it is against real, and the catalan medias would say the state gave the order to help real madrid. Specially teams like Sevilla and Atletico, who have now the material and the quality to be a real competitor to real and barca are badly concerned of this horrible situation in spain. An it seems that in spain nobody of the political and sports-political leaders is intelligent enough to ease up the way for a third and a fouth strong spanish team. The block thinking od real and barca is too strong and to powerful. I think if somebady promotes to adapt the sttuctures that makes more competition and fairer competition to real and barca possible, the leaders kill him and the moderate followers do not take care. Real madrid is supported by 40 % of all spanish football fans! barca is supported by 26 %! Atleti is third with 8 %! Valencia has 6% and the 2 sevilla teams have 3% each. Just google “distribucion afficionados espana clubes”. The key reason, why this 2 teams are so strongly supported, is that they belong to a high extend to the mebers, and they have hundred thousends of members in spain, and not to A few rich men, like atleti. Thus, for the people, real m and varca are the teams of the people.

  • Roberto

    Oblak was so unbeliebable and exceptionally bad and unfit in the penalties in the ucl final. I hope he was not bribed.

  • Roberto

    Grieesmann action in the extra time was horrible. He has to be more circumspectly. Gameire was completely free to make the 2:1 easily! But I liked how atleti fighted. it is so important that they do not stop this. If they go on fighting this way also the self-confidence will come back, and atleti will win those tight games – except simeone makes too many wrong and as a result for the key players demotivating decissions.

  • Koke

    Yes, we’ve become almost comical at penalties ever since Raul Garcia left. I don’t even get excited anymore when we get a penalty because I feel scared there’s like a 25% chance we’ll actually score. Boy, I love watching Griezmann, Carrasco, etc 10x more than I loved watching Garcia, but people are right in that we need more balls and nerve like in the old days. I’m sad we’re out of the Copa but I’m dead serious that we can win the CL if we keep playing this way

  • Paweł Kosiński

    That’s it – we just keep on fighting, while our opponents score goals, win matches and trophies.

  • Roberto

    In spain titels and trophies have to be won by real madrid or barca by law. The referees do not allow atletico and sevilla to connect. 2014 was an incident! I do not know the hidden agenda, bit there is one

  • AnonX

    But Only a Club such as we who are Specifically Breeded to Finally Overcome them.

    We are Special in our Power and Strength and our shortcoming.

    A Club of Fighting Champions !

    FORZA Club Atletico de Madrid.