Atletico Madrid are welcoming PSV Eindhoven in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie with Diego Simeone’s men full of confidence following a run of four consecutive La Liga triumphs.
Diego Simeone’s men have continued with strong performances in domestic championship in recent weeks and have managed to notch four consecutive La Liga wins since their goalless stalemate in Eindhoven in February. Atletico Madrid eased past Deportivo La Coruna 3-0 on Saturday with Saul Niguez opening the scorings and Antoine Griezmann adding a goal for the fourth match on the bounce, before captain Gabi setting up the third and final goal for Angel Correa. Atletico Madrid remain anchored in second place in La Liga, eight points behind table toppers Barcelona and four points clear of Real Madrid in third. Atletico Madrid’s men are now turning their focus towards the Champions League looking to dispatch PSV Eindhoven who managed to hold the Rojiblancos in the first leg in Eindhoven. Spanish side have lost only one of their last fifteen matches at Vicente Calderon and Simeone’s players are bursting with confidence as they are keen on making an impression in the Europe’s elite competition. Saul Niguez and Antoine Griezmann will be the two players to put a close watch on as they have been in superb form lately.
Fernando Torres is a doubt for the hosts due to his knee problem as the experienced striker has sat out through the victory over Deportivo.
Stefan Savic is having problems with his thigh, while Tiago is a long-term absentee with his leg issue.
Having drawn with Heerenveen 1-1 at the weekend, PSV find themselves a point ahead of Ajax in the Dutch league. Luuk de Jong was the scorer for Philip Cocu’s charges and it was his 19th league goal this term. The 25-year-old forward is the league’s top scorer thus far and in addition to his Eredivisie goals the Netherlands international added two in five Champions League goals. He will be expected to lead the line for Cocu’s team who are entering the pivotal stage of the season. After their visit to Madrid, PSV are playing the top-of-the-table clash with Ajax next Sunday, before making a trip to third-placed AZ following Tuesday. First things first and Cocu’s men are faced with a stern challenge against Diego Simeone’s men. PSV are seeking for their first victory on Spanish soil after 12 failed attempts, but are heading into the clash at Vicente Calderon on the back of the 21-match unbeaten run in the league. PSV were fortunate to avoid defeat in the first leg of the tie with Atletico Madrid and it was thanks to goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet that Cocu’s men are kept in the loop with a positive result.
Philip Cocu will be delighted to welcome back Luuk de Jong in the first team following his suspension.
On the other hand, Andres Guardado and Maxime Lestienne are likely to miss the return leg due to injuries, while Pereiro is serving the ban of his own.
Key Factors to Consider
- Atletico Madrid have lost only one of their last 15 home games in all competitions
- Diego Simeone’s men have kept 12 clean sheet in their last 16 Champions League fixtures
- PSV Eindhoven have failed to win their last 12 matches in Spain
- Cocu’s men are without a defeat in their last 21 league fixtures
- Atletico Madrid have won six of their last eight matches in all competitions
PSV will have their key man Luuk de Jong back in the squad, but Atletico Madrid boast a solid defence line which is difficult to break. Diego Simeone’s men are the force to be reckoned with and are likely to rectify all the mistakes from the first match and record a win to seal their place in the quarter-finals.
Verdict: Atletico to win to nil