Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Atletico is poised to slay another giant
by Ridge Mahoney, April 21st, 2014 9:17PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ
TAGS:  uefa champions league

MOST COMMENTED

[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] The only surviving semifinalist not to win the Champions League may be the underdog against 2012 winner Chelsea, but Atletico Madrid is not a longshot.

They meet Tuesday (live at 2:45 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1) in the first leg at Vicente Calderon Stadium and if anything, despite the illustrious pedigree of Chelsea and glamour manager Jose Mourinho, this series is rated as a tossup.

Atletico is riding atop La Liga and solidified its European credentials by knocking off league rival Barcelona, 2-1, on aggregate following a 1-0 victory in the second leg. The triumph -- the fifth match this season in which Barca couldn’t defeat its rival -- ends a 40-year absence from the semis of Europe’s top club competition, dating back to the 1973-74 tournament.

Though Barca ended up with a 64-36 percent edge in possession, Atleti scored early through Koke and hit the woodwork twice after Adrian Lopez’s shot came back off the crossbar in the fifth minute. Barca could only partially clear the ball, which David Villa crossed back in from the left wing to the far post, where Koke’s crisp volley triggered a thunderous celebration.

Koke and Lopez took up much of the attacking burden in the absence of Diego Costa, who missed the second leg against Barca and after his return to the field suffered a shin contusion colliding with a goalpost nine days ago in a league match against Getafe. He missed a penalty kick before scoring the second goal against Getafe, and despite the post incident is fit for the Tuesday showdown.

Chelsea’s spirits may be down after a shocking 2-1 home loss to Sunderland Saturday severely damaged its hopes of catching Premier League leader Liverpool, which it plays Sunday at Anfield. The defeat ended manager Mourinho’s incredible home unbeaten streak at 77 matches and took away some of the luster from a dramatic 2-0 defeat of Paris St. Germain in the second leg of the quarterfinals that tied the series,3-3, on aggregate, and sent Chelsea into the semis on away goals.

Keeper Peter Cech returns to face Atletico after he missed the Sunderland game because of illness, but wingerEden Hazard is doubtful with a strained calf he suffered against Paris St. Germain and defenderBranislav Ivanovic is suspended. Questionable performances in the back have plagued Chelsea this season and the absence of the robust and experienced Ivanovic could open the gates for Atletico's prolific attack.

There are myriad connections between the clubs. Atletico keeper Thibaut Courtois is on loan from Chelsea, and striker Fernando Torres started his career with the Spanish club and scored 82 goals before moving to Liverpool, which sold him to Chelsea in one of the most-ridiculed transfers of all time. Atletico thrashed Chelsea, 4-1, in the UEFA Super Cup two years ago. 



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
MLS Countdown: Vanney gives TFC reminder    
Toronto FC waited through many seasons and head coaches before finally reaching the playoffs last year. ...
Bundesliga 2016-17: Half the teams have a U.S. player    
From age 17 to 28, from newly promoted RB Leipzig to four-time defending champion Bayern Munich, ...
WCQ Callups: USA battles injuries and suspensions    
The roster for the U.S. national team's World Cup 2018 qualifiers against St. Vincent & the ...
NWSL: Olympians back in fold, mostly    
Off for 26 days because of the Olympics -- except for one make-up game -- the ...
What They're Saying: Laura Harvey    
"It's about someone’s livelihood. It’s about their career. Irrelevant of what the decision is and who ...
What They're Saying: Alex Morgan    
"The players don't control any of the consequences that happen, that are enforced by U.S. Soccer. ...
TV Report: MLS and NFL to air joint lineup    
On Sept. 18, Fox Sports will air two live MLS matches -- Sporting Kansas City-LA Galaxy ...
MLS Countdown: Timbers' health improving    
Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle and Portland meet Sunday at Providence Park for the second time in ...
WCQ Callups: T&T goes heavy on U.S.-based players    
Nine U.S.-based players -- five in MLS, three in the USL and one in the NASL ...
Video Pick: And the winner is ... Messi    
Add 2015-16 UEFA Goal of the Season to Lionel Messi's large collection of honors. His goal ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives