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Atletico Madrid - Valencia Preview: La Liga duo eye Europa League final ticket
Diego Simeone and Unai Emery will both be hoping their respective sides can hit the ground running in the first leg of this semi-final encounter in the Spanish capital
By Martin Macdonald
Perea, Miranda, Dominguez, Filipe
Adrian, Diego, Arda
Costa, Rami, Ruiz, Alba
Tino Costa, Topal
Feghouli, Jonas, Mathieu
Diego Simeone conducted a training session on Tuesday with only club captain Antonio Lopez and Silvio Pereira not taking part. The two players continue their rehabilitation from injury and worked separately from their team-mates during the week.
Atletico Madrid will have to make do without influential defender Diego Godin for the first leg as the Uruguayan will miss the match through suspension.
Unai Emery's side have been buoyed in the last couple of weeks by the return Hedwiges Maduro and Sergio Canales from injury. However, it is unlikely that either player will be match fit to make the starting XI for the Vicente Calderon visit.
Victory Ruiz missed the disappointing 4-0 defeat by Espanyol at the weekend with a minor injury but he is thought to be fit enough to feature against Atletico. Ricardo Costa may come in at right-back as Antonio Barragan is suspended. Ever Banega is out for the season after breaking his leg.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Atletico Madrid and Valencia have had one previous meeting in Europe, and it took place in this competition in the 2009/10 season. The Madrid side went through on away goals after earning a 2-2 draw at the Mestalla and then shutting out Valencia 0-0 at home.
- Atletico have won their last eight European home matches since an unexpected 3-2 loss to Aris Thessaloniki FC in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League group stage.
- Diego Simeone's side are the most prolific scorers left in the competition with 25 goals – one more than Athletic Bilbao. They are the strongest finishers in the tournament in another respect too, with six of those goals coming between the 76th minute and the final whistle.
- Valencia's 11 games against Spanish compatriots in Uefa competition have ended in six wins, three draws, and two losses.
- Los Che have won only one of their last nine continental fixtures on the road (1-0 at Stoke City in this season's round of 32), with the other eight producing four draws and four defeats.
- Unai Emery's side are the only team left in this season's competition who competed in the Champions League group stage.
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Top 3 Predictions
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Valencia CF
- 19.19 %
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Valencia CF
- 11.97 %
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Valencia CF
- 10.59 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Mar 31, 2013||Atletico Madrid 1 - Valencia CF 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Nov 3, 2012||Valencia CF 2 - Atletico Madrid 0|
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||Apr 26, 2012||Valencia CF 0 - Atletico Madrid 1|
|UEFA Europa League (EL)||Apr 19, 2012||Atletico Madrid 4 - Valencia CF 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Feb 5, 2012||Atletico Madrid 0 - Valencia CF 0|
|May 17, 2013||Real Madrid CF 1 - Atletico Madrid 2||ESPC|
|May 12, 2013||Atletico Madrid 1 - FC Barcelona 2||LIGA|
|May 8, 2013||Celta 1 - Atletico Madrid 3||LIGA|
|May 4, 2013||Deportivo 0 - Atletico Madrid 0||LIGA|
|Apr 27, 2013||Atletico Madrid 1 - Real Madrid CF 2||LIGA|
|Returns:||Atl. Madrid £21.00||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £260.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Valencia £660.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|23||Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia||Striker|
The Colombian loves this competition, and leads his side's scoring charts in the Europa League with eight goals in 10 matches. He won this title last year with Porto and boasts the experience and know-how to pull his side to victory, if he can get good service into the box.
The Valencia centre-half is the unlikely top scorer for his side in the Europa League this season with three goals. However, it is his defensive abilities that will need to be of a high standard if he is to successfully deal with Radamel Falcao over both legs. This promises to be the most intriguing battle of the semi-final.
The hosts have won their last eight European matches at the Vicente Calderon while Valencia have won just one of their last nine on the road in Europe. All signs point to a victory for Diego Simeone'e men in the first leg of the semis, although the two side's are incredibly evenly matched, so expect just a narrow triumph for Atletico.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed