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Simeone excited by strike duo

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says he hopes Radamel Falcao and Adrian Lopez will flourish together against Rubin Kazan.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says he hopes Radamel Falcao and Adrian Lopez will flourish together against Rubin Kazan.

Falcao did not play for Atletico in the Europa League group stage and has been struggling with a hamstring injury but Simeone has claimed the 27-year-old Colombian striker has fully recovered and should start against Kazan on Thursday.

Atletico Madrid will host the Russian club in the first leg of their round-of-32 tie without Brazilian striker Diego Costa, who is suspended, but Simeone is excited at the prospect of Falcao and Lopez up front together based on their chemistry last season.

“Last season before I was here Adrian was on top form, which helped Falcao a great deal,” Simeone said on Wednesday.

“Now Radamel is recovered, the other day in Vallecas (in the 2-1 loss to Rayo Vallecano) he played at a more intense rhythm than usual and I’m sure that tomorrow he will be fine once again.

“He is no better or worse when playing with Diego Costa and the presence of Adrian will be very good for him.”

Simeone expects a tough challenge from Kazan, who he has seen a lot of in preparation for the Europa League clash.

“Yeah, we have seen plenty of videos of them. It is a team that plays well and has players in the middle of the park who knock the ball around well,” Simeone said.

“They have full-backs, above all else (Cristian) Ansaldi, who can play in a number of positions, and players up front like (Salomon) Rondon and (Alexei) Eremenko, or whoever else Rubin choose to play, who could make tomorrow’s match difficult.”

Wed 13 February, 2013
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