Thursday 12 Apr

Sporting vs Atletico - Match Preview

10 Apr 2018 Ed Mackey INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Europa League, Knockout stage
INTERNATIONAL CLUBS: UEFA Europa League, Knockout stage

Sporting CP

  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

vs

Kick-off
19:05 GMT
12 April 2018

Atletico Madrid

  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • D

Kick-off
19:05 GMT 12 April 2018

European football weeks at this stage of the season always conclude with a round of Europa League fixtures on the Thursday. With Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sporting vs Atletico is one of four Europa League quarters on Thursday night. Like most of the others, this is one that certainly wouldn’t look out of place in the more elite of the two, both sides did start this term in the Champions League but were knocked out.

STATS

  • Sporting aren’t doing too badly in the league as they sit third in the Portuguese top-flight but they are in disarray. After receiving criticism from their president, 19 players demanded respect and were met with a ban for the weekend’s match. Despite being thin on the ground in terms of players, Sporting managed a 2-0 win over Pacos Ferreira.
  • Atletico have been Barcelona’s main challengers in La Liga but have ultimately come up short against a very strong side. They will be confident of winning the Europa League after their 2-0 first-leg win. They drew 1-1 at the Bernabeu last time out against Real Madrid as Antoine Griezmann’s goal cancelled out Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener.
  • In their five games in this season’s competition, Atletico have scored 15 goals and Griezmann has the most in the side with three. One of those came in the first-leg.
  • Sporting have nine goals in their five games, Bruno Fernandes has three, all three coming against Astana in the last 32 clash.

HEAD TO HEAD

This will be the fourth clash between the two sides and all four have come in the Europa League. The most recent one was, of course, Atletico’s 2-0 win in the first-leg where goals from Koke and Griezmann gave them a very good lead heading into this second leg. The earlier meeting back in 2010 saw Atletico go through on the away goals ruling. The first leg ended goalless before the second leg was a 2-2 draw. Sergio Aguero got both goals for the Spanish side back then.

SPORTING NEWS

Sporting need to avoid conceding an early goal which would give them far too much to do. Daniel Podence won’t return before the end of the season while Bruno Silva isn’t available either.

Latest matches: Sporting CP

08.04.2018 Prim Sporting CP FC Pacos Ferreira 2:0 W
05.04.2018 UEFA Atletico Madrid Sporting CP 2:0 L
31.03.2018 Prim Sporting Braga Sporting CP 1:0 L
18.03.2018 Prim Sporting CP Rio Ave FC 2:0 W
15.03.2018 UEFA FC Viktoria Plzen Sporting CP 2:1 L

ATLETICO NEWS

A first-half goal for the visitors would go a long way to securing their place in the semi-final. Jose Gimenez is still nursing an injury he sustained on international duty and probably won’t be risked.

Latest matches: Atletico Madrid

08.04.2018 LaLi Real Madrid Atletico Madrid 1:1 D
05.04.2018 UEFA Atletico Madrid Sporting CP 2:0 W
01.04.2018 LaLi Atletico Madrid Deportivo La Coruna 1:0 W
18.03.2018 LaLi Villarreal CF Atletico Madrid 2:1 L
15.03.2018 UEFA FC Lokomotiv Moscow Atletico Madrid 1:5 W

SUMMARY

With their two-goal lead from the first leg, Atletico are undoubtedly big favourites to qualify for the semis. An expected away goal would make it too hard for Sporting. However, a tight defensive performance for the hosts could give them a chance, especially if they get an early goal.

About the author - Ed Mackey

Experienced sports writer and huge Leicester City fan.

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