Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Costa questions swirl around second leg
by Ridge Mahoney, April 8th, 2014 8:30PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  barcelona, uefa champions league

MOST COMMENTED

[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Wednesday] Barcelona has yet to beat Atletico Madrid in four meetings this season and only one of them can progress pending the result of their fifth encounter Wednesday at the Estadio Vicente Calderon in the UEFA Champions League.

Atlético holds the away-goals advantage from the 1-1 tie in the first leg tie at the Camp Nou, and Barca midfielder Cesc Fabregas admits that the onus to score is something the home team can exploit.

“It will be a very even encounter but we are very hopeful of winning,” he said on Tuesday. “Atletico will keep it tight. They are not under pressure to attack. It will be difficult. They have their own style, but we must try to break them down using our strengths.”

Two strong points Barca won’t have are defender Pique and keeper Victor Valdes. Pique suffered a hip injury in the first leg and Valdes is out for the season after suffering torn knee ligaments. For Atletico, the hamstring injury suffered by Diego Costa is of grave concern; he is officially listed as doubtful, as is Arda Turan (groin). Costa leads the team with seven goals in his six UCL appearances so far this season.

“If Diego Costa is fit, he plays,” said head coach Diego Simeone on Tuesday. “If he is a little less than 100 percent, he will be on the bench. Otherwise he'll be out. We will have a look at [him] in training. If he doesn't make it, Adrian Lopez will play. If Adrian plays, I'm sure he will have a great game for us. We have rotated some players in recent matches, which is important to keep the team fresh. We have been doing a great deal of physical work in order to allow us to be competitive at this stage of the season.”

So far, Simeone’s management of the players has been superb. By beating Villarreal, 1-0, Saturday on a Raul Garcia goal, Atletico has taken over first place in La Liga with 79 points. It has already surpassed last year’s total of 76 points with six more league matches to play. Barca won a league match at Atletico last May, 2-1, but in 16 of its last 17 games in European competition, Atletico has won. It romped to first place in its Champions League group by 10 points by winning five games and tying one, and destroyed AC Milan, 5-2, on aggregate in the round of 16.

Costa is the player everyone watches, but others -- such as Garcia, who has scored four European goals this season -- are no less influential.

“Diego Costa is a very important player but Atletico have many great players,” says Fabregas. “We have to focus on ourselves. We want to compete and fight until the end. That is how we think. There are many things left to do this season."


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS: Week 32] A classic encounter left the LA Galaxy, No. 1 in the Soccer America ...
Guardiola is happy to be back in Rome    
[UCL: Three Games to Watch] Two matches involving former champions, plus Pep Guardiola's return to Roma ...
Klingenberg golazo highlights another easy U.S. win    
[CONCACAF WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP] The USA cruised into the semifinals of the Concacaf Women's Championship with its ...
Concacaf Women's Championship Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Saturday] Trinidad & Tobago beat Guatemala, 2-1, on late goals by Kennya Cordner of the ...
Agudelo trial at Wolves ends    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Juan Agudelo's search for a club continues as English League Championship club Wolves passed ...
MLS clubs in position to outdo Mexican rivals    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] The group stage of the Concacaf Champions League concludes with Week 6 with ...
What They're Saying: India Premier League    
"Heaven has gained a defensive midfielder; apart from the hard tackles and the breaking up of ...
Bielsa sits on cup of coffee    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Not everything is going right for Marseille's coach Marcelo Bielsa, whose ...
U.S. under-14 girls national team roster    
[CARSON CAMP] Head coach April Kater has called up 35 players (with one more to be ...
What They Saying: Emilie Jacquot    
"It is unanimously positive. The FIFA scandal had an excellent impact on our brand awareness." -- ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives