Atletico Madrid are full of confidence heading into their Champions League last-16 second leg against PSV at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday, according to Saul Niguez.
The first encounter in Eindhoven ended goalless and saw the hosts lose Gaston Pereiro to a second yellow card midway through the second half, setting up a finely poised clash in Madrid.
Since then, Diego Simeone’s side have won four successive matches – the latest of which came in a 3-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.
Saul’s powerful header opened the scoring and was added to by Antoine Griezmann – converting for the fourth consecutive game – and Angel Correa seven minutes from time.
The midfielder thinks the victory has primed Atletico to book a place in the quarter-finals at PSV’s expense.
“The team has done a great job and achieved great results. Looking ahead to Tuesday, it gives us a boost,” said Saul.
“We kept going until the end and the [late] goal gave us serenity. It was one of the best matches, very complete, without conceding a goal.
“I think we played very well and after these three points we go into that key match very confident of winning.”
Atletico prevailed on PSV’s only previous visit to the Vicente Calderon – a 2-1 triumph in the group stage of the 2008-09 Champions League – but have lost all four two-legged ties they have contested with Dutch opponents in European competition.
PSV are still seeking a first victory in Spain after 12 failed attempts and head into the match having extended their unbeaten run in the Eredivisie to 21 matches in a 1-1 draw against Heerenveen on Saturday.
Tuesday signals the start of what could be a pivotal period in the season for Phillip Cocu’s team, with a top-of-the-table clash against Ajax – who missed the chance to overtake PSV at the summit with a 2-2 draw against NEC Nijmegen on Sunday – and a trip to third-placed AZ following Tuesday’s meeting with Atletico.
Goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet’s heroics kept the Dutch side in the first leg, and they will be looking for another big performance from him if they are to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2006-07.
Stefan Savic (thigh) and Tiago (leg) are out for Atletico, while Fernando Torres (knee) is a doubt having sat out the victory over Deportivo at the weekend.
Cocu is able to select prolific striker Luuk de Jong, who returns having served a suspension in the first leg, but, along with Pereiro’s ban, there are concerns over the fitness of Andres Guardado (hamstring) and Maxime Lestienne (calf).
Key Opta Stats:
– Atletico Madrid are in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the third consecutive season, a first in their history.
– PSV have lost nine of their last 12 Champions League away games (W1 D2).
– Atletico Madrid have kept 12 clean sheets in their last 16 Champions League games. At the Vicente Calderon, Diego Simeone’s men have kept a clean sheet in 11 of their last 13 Champions League matches.
– PSV have never scored more than two goals in their last 37 Champions League games. The last time they did was in the 2005 semi-final second leg against AC Milan (3-1).
– PSV’s Jeroen Zoet has made more saves than any other goalkeeper among the teams left in this season’s Champions League (26).
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