Reinforced by their improvement in recent games, Atlético will try to knock down for the first time tonight the impenetrable wall that has meant facing Cristiano Ronaldo in European competitions so far. Five times he has seen them with the Portuguese and five times he has had to retire to the pits. In a desperate attempt to change history, the team comes to the clash of Old Trafford in a qualifying situation very similar to that of his rival. At stake is a gluttonous place in the quarterfinals and the two cling to it as a last resort to save a season that has not been up to par.
Neither Atlético nor Manchester have performed this season according to what was expected of them. They both see how the other team in their city is the one that tyrannically rules in their respective Leagues and they only have the Champions League left to justify a disappointing year. Hence the importance of tonight’s match, which will leave one of them alive to fight for a quarter-final in which the cream of Europe will already be.
The rojiblancos start from scratch tonight because this season the rule of the double value of goals in the opposite field has been invalidated. As a result, Wanda’s 1-1 was of little use and it will earn bread in the 90 -or 120 minutes- played today at Old Trafford, a field that has just witnessed an unprecedented feat by Cristiano Ronaldo, that with his hat trick Tottenham has not only become the top scorer of all time beating the Czech Joseph Bicanbut he has also sent an intimidating message to Atlético when Just three years have passed since the three goals he scored as a Juventus player.
Simeone avoided referring to Cristiano in the official press conference prior to the match, although it is evident that he is an obsession for the rojiblancos because many of them, starting with oblak, were present at the Turin match. However, there is absolute confidence that today the streak will finally stop and the team will reach the quarterfinals backed by the four consecutive wins accumulated in the Leaguedespite the fact that the last one, against Cádiz, was agonizing.
Kondogbia and Handsome They got their boarding pass yesterday, recovered from their injuries, and they also traveled by their side Gimenez, Lodi and beltwho finished the match against Cádiz with a limp but who are already fit, although the Uruguayan center-back will have to undergo a test before starting the match that will determine whether or not it is fit. If not, the Brazilian Felipe Monteiro would be his substitute again. This is such a common situation at Atlético that it no longer surprises anyone. Lemar and carrasco are low, like Vrsaljkoand Croatian is especially painful because forces Cholo to move Llorente away from the midfield to dedicate him to the right side. The trainer was very satisfied with the performance of the trident Herrera-Kondogbia-Llorente in the first leg, but today he will not be able to repeat it.
One of the trump cards that the rojiblancos cling to is the extraordinary moment of form in which Joao finds himself, By far the best of the season. The Portuguese has scored five consecutive goals and has already scored in the first leg. Next to him will appear either belt O well Griezmann because the role of Luis Suarez has become residual.
The Man’U recovers the side Luke Shawdischarged after overcoming the coronavirus, and yesterday he was also able to train BrunoFernandes, that it was infected. The loss of the Portuguese would have been capital for the red devils since he is the team’s second top scorer after Cristiano, but Atlético has not been lucky in that either. In case little wood was missing, the Uruguayan returns Cavaniwho could not play in the Metropolitan the first leg
the slovenian Slavco Vincić, who already managed Atlético 0 Milan 1 in the group stage, will be in charge of dispensing justice at Old Trafford. Vincic was involved in May 2020 in a case of drug trafficking and prostitution in Bosnia Herzegovina that no charges were brought against him, but which of course tarnished his reputation forever. “I have nothing to do with the group that was arrested,” said the Slovenian referee, compatriot of Jan Oblak.
A large representation of the red and white fans will accompany the team in the stands of Old Trafford with the hope of coming back to life a night as historic as two years ago at Anfield Road against Liverpool. With Cristiano’s permission, of course.