After cruising to a comfortable 2-0 victory in their midweek Europa League clash against Celtic, Atlético will look to keep the good times rolling as they host Racing Santander at the Calderón on Sunday.
Despite looking sharp in all their European encounters thus far and riding a five-game win streak in UEFA play, los Rojiblancos haven’t been able to find the back of the net in league action, which has cost the club critical points.
In their previous two Liga matches, versus Osasuna and Valencia, Atleti have been shutout but have largely dominated play, taking 39 shots and hitting the post twice according to the club’s official site.
There’s reason for optimism coming into the match against los Verdiblancos though, as the trifecta of new stars dazzled their home supporters on Thursday.
Diego assisted Radamel Falcao’s early strike against the Hoops, while Arda Turan found the Brazilian who smacked one in to double our lead in the second half of our 2-0 victory.
The notoriously unexcitable Atlético manager Gregorio Manzano warned that his men shouldn’t get too ahead of themselves though.
“You have to contain the euphoria,” Manzano said in the pre-game press conference.
“It’s September 17 and we won’t be shouting from the rooftops because we haven’t achieved anything.
“The team hasn’t even been working together for 10 days. We need time to adapt and grow. I hope we’ll gradually get there.”
The coach continued: “I was glad that the euphoria has moved to our people, but I hope it isn’t over the top.
“Don’t think we can beat Racing without getting off the bus.”
Manzano’s words will hit close to home to returning Colchoneros, as we were unable to defeat Racing last season.
The teams split the points after a scoreless draw at the Calderón back in January, while los Racinguistas came back from a goal down in Santander to beat us 2-1 in May.
Atleti will be without defenders Sílvio and Diego Godín, both suffering from minor groin strains.
Returning to the match selection are Joel, Filipe Luis, Juanfran and Jorge Pulido, who were all left off the squad that faced Celtic.
Racing are missing several key figures through injuries, most notably, Kennedy and veteran Pedro Munitis.
Gonzalo Colsa and Marc Torrejón have also sustained knocks and will be unavailable, while Papa Kouli Diop serves a one-match ban.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Joel, Courtois
Defenders: Filipe Luis, Álvaro Domínguez, Perea, Miranda, Pulido
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Reyes, Arda, Gabi, Juanfran, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao, Pizzi
Racing match selection
Goalkeepers: Toño, Mario, José Picón,
Defenders: Francis, Osmar, Álvaro González, Bernardo, Christian, Cisma
Midfielders: Tziolis, Edu Bedia, Adrián, Arana, Serrano
Forwards: Julián Luque, Acosta, Ariel, Stuani
Referee: Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva
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