Atlético host Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderón on Thursday evening in the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final.
Los Blancos hold a significant 3-1 advantage coming into the clash, but a 55,000 strong Rojiblanco stadium will hope to be the shot-in-the-arm that boosts the side over their eternal rivals. All the supporters expect in return is for their players to give their all on the pitch.
“The fans will witness a team that will offer its best version,” manager Quique Sanchez Flores told the official site ahead of the derby. “We know that our supporters will push us.
“With what we have, together with their support, we can achieve this.”
Atleti will need to win by either a 2-0 margin or, in the event of a Real Madrid goal, by at least three goals in order to punch their ticket into the next round.
Despite not being able to count on our best attacking threat for this game in Sergio Agüero, our boys will be confident in their offensive potential. Our ‘Kun-less’ side that faced off against Mallorca on Monday was able to put three past goalkeeper Dudu Aouate.
Central defender Luis Perea was a doubt throughout the week after missing out from our last match with tonsillitis, but appears to have recovered and looks set to return to the fold.
“Perea is doing very well,” said Quique. “He’s been in bed for two days, but he’s now in good condition.
“Perea at 80 per cent is equivalent to 150 per cent of other players. He’s very strong.”
Mario Suarez remains sidelined with his thigh injury, and Antonio Lopez is suspended for this game after being sent-off on Monday.
Quique called up canteranos Koke, Alberto Perea and Borja to round out our match selection.
Real Madrid struggled against lowly Almería this past weekend, managing only a 1-1 draw, leaving them trailing Barcelona in the league table. Still in with a chance of silverware in both the Copa del Rey and Champions League, we can expect Real Madrid to give nothing but their best in search of a first trophy in three years.
“We will qualify for the next round if we draw against Atletico, so a draw would be a good score,” José Mourinho told Real Madrid’s official site.
The self-anointed Special One had some bold things to say about his squad’s character in spite of the dropped points against los Almerienses.
“Have you ever seen Real Madrid experience difficulties in the final minutes of a game? No. This is a side that dominates.”
The match against Barcelona at the Camp Nou must have slipped past the Merengue boss’ memory.
“This squad always does its best. My men are serious professionals. I don’t have to tell them anything,” he said.
For this encounter, Mourinho turned in the same exact match selection as the one he submitted for the first leg at the Bernabéu.
Sevilla, who saw off Villarreal at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán on Tuesday by defeating the Yellow Submarine 3-0 (6-3), await the winner of this match in the next round.
Atletico match selection:
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Joel
Defenders: Valera, Filipe Luis, Godín, Ujfalusi, Álvaro Domínguez, Perea,
Midfielders: Tiago, Raúl García, Elías, Fran Mérida, Paulo Assunção, Reyes, Juanfran, Koke, Alberto Perea
Forwards: Forlán, Diego Costa and Borja
Real Madrid match selection:
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adán, Pacheco
Defenders: Carvalho, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Albiol, Garay
Midfielders: Gago, Khedira, Lass, Granero, Xabi Alonso, Canales, Di María, Kaká, Özil
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo and Benzema
Referee: Javier Turienzo Álvarez
Don’t forget to get in your predictions for the AtleticoFans Prediction League!
Who do you think Quique will line up against our bitter rivals?