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
Impaired attacks won't detract from historic showdown
by Ridge Mahoney, May 22nd, 2014 11:22PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  real madrid, uefa champions league

MOST COMMENTED

[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Preview] A Madrid derby in Lisbon will provide a fascinating finish to the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League competition.

One week after the La Liga season ended with champion Atletico three points ahead of third-place Real, they contest the first European final between teams from the same city (2:45 p.m. Saturday, Fox, Fox Deportes.) Real’s pedigree in the competition is unmatched; it is going for its 10th crown. Atletico, which hasn’t reached this stage of the competition in 40 years, is seeking its first title.

Neither team finished the league campaign strongly, though Atleti rallied from a 1-0 deficit last Saturday in Barcelona to get the 1-1 tie it needed to keep second-place Barca at bay. Real took just two points from three league matches prior to beating Espanyol, 3-1, in the league finale last weekend.

The Real attack, which demolished defending champion Bayern Munich, 5-0, on aggregate in the CL semifinals, could be impaired in Lisbon. Knee and thigh injuries limited Cristiano Ronaldo to just eight minutes in Real’s last three league games. Gareth Bale sat out with a back problem in the last two games, during which Karin Benzema suffered a knock to his knee and a strained groin.

Ronaldo set a record by scoring 16 European goals and with 66 in his career is only five behind all-time leader Raul. His 31 league goals tied Luis Suarez of Liverpool for top honors in Europe.He was scheduled to play the final league game against Espanyol but pulled out during the warm-up.

Real holds the edge in head-to-head play this past season though it lost the first match at home in the league, 2-1. It swept both legs of the Copa del Rey semifinals and tied, 2-2, at Aletico in March.

“We know how good they have been this season – they're very strong,” said Bale, who in his first season at Real scored 20 goals in all competitions. “We're confident having beaten them a few times this season and we're confident we can beat them again on Saturday.”

Atletico may be the underdog in this match, given the more illustrious pedigree of Real, but its season on both La Liga and Champions League fronts has been remarkable. It is unbeaten in 12 European matches, having conceded just six goals, and can be become just the seventh team to win the competition unbeaten if it prevails in Lisbon. It conceded the fewest goals, 26, in La Liga as well.

Diego Costa leads the list of possible injury exclusions. He injured his hamstring against Barcelona and sought out alternate treatments in the rush to get fit in time. He led Atleti with 27 goals in league play and eight more in the Champions League; if he can’t go, Raul Garcia and Alda Turan, each with four Euro goals, and Koke (one) are even more essential.

Under head coach Diego Simeone, Aletico has won the Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, Copa del Rey and La Liga. Facing the most accomplished club in Europe presents a test of tactics as well as a chance to make history.

They've played with three in midfield and three up front and recently they've been playing a 4-4-2 which has brought good results,” says Simeone. “With the caliber of players they have, they are going to be dangerous whatever system they play. Madrid have big personalities throughout the team, they have great players.

“It's a historic rivalry. It's great, both in terms of the matches themselves and the fact that in one city you have such a powerful team as Real Madrid and a battling team such as Atletico Madrid. The idiosyncrasies of the clubs couldn't be more different, possibly from a social perspective as well. Each team uses the tools it has at its disposal and it's a great rivalry, no matter which team you support.”

 

 



No comments yet.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Again, the USA wilts in the second half    
The USA's performance in a 3-2 loss to Chile on Wednesday raises lots of questions and ...
NYCFC makes change at the top    
New York City FC has appointed Tom Glick as its new president, replacing Tim Pernetti, who ...
MLS sells KickTV to Copa90    
Major League Soccer has sold KICKTV, its dedicated global soccer platform approaching one million subscribers on ...
What They're Saying: Bob Foose    
"We're a long way apart. I don't know that I want to handicap it, but it's ...
Gyau, Morse and Haley move up with U-18 women    
The U.S. under-18 women's national team will hold a one-week training camp that begins Sunday at ...
Video Pick: The Magic of the FA Cup?    
The folks at The Guardian have become suspicious about the marketing of the FA Cup, the ...
2015 MLS Preseason Action    
The LA Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes opened preseason play with shutout victories in scrimmages on ...
USA falls to Chile, 3-2, in 2015 opener    
The U.S. men's national team opened its 2015 season wtih a 3-2 loss at Chile on ...
W-League will return for 21st season with just 18 teams    
A slimmed down W-League will kick off the 2015 season in May with 18 teams, down ...
Red Bull dealing pays off; Sacha Kljestan arrives     
The New York Red Bulls have succeeded in outflanking the LA Galaxy to land U.S. national ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives