Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Benfica v Atletico Madrid: Top spot in Group C up for grabs

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 6 Dec 2015

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Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin has warned Benfica to expect Diego Simeone’s in-form side to go all out to try and secure the win needed to finish top of Champions League Group C. 

Both Atleti and Benfica sealed progression to the last 16 on matchday five, with a victory over Galatasaray and a draw with Astana respectively.

The two sides are level on 10 points heading into Tuesday’s clash, but Benfica only need a draw to advance as group winners by virtue of beating Simeone’s men 2-1 earlier in the season. 

However, Atleti have responded in some style to that defeat, embarking on a 12-match unbeaten run that has included nine wins and six in a row ahead of the trip to Portugal. 

And Godin, who netted his first goal of the campaign in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Granada and has been in outstanding form as Simeone’s staunch defence has conceded just nine goals in all competitions this term, is aiming to extend that streak. 

“We have to continue along this path and be the best we can,” the centre-back, who Simeone has labelled as La Liga’s best defender, told Atleti’s official website.

“We are strong this way. We have managed to win the match [against Granada] and add three points and stay at the top in the league. Now we need the same in Europe.”

Like Godin, goalkeeper Jan Oblak has been influential for Atleti this season in securing his spot as Simeone’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Having helped Benfica claim a league and cup double in 2013-14, the Slovenia international signed for Atleti to replace Thibaut Courtois and will be hoping to continue his fine form against his former club.

Benfica, meanwhile, battled from two goals down against Astana on matchday five to claim the point that sealed their progression, and made it four straight league wins without conceding as they beat Academica 3-0 on Friday.

 

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