Sporting vs Atlético Madrid – Thursday, April 12, 20:05BST/21:05CEST – José Alvalade, Lisbon, Portugal
It took Atlético Madrid just 22 seconds to get the job done against Sporting. Koke scored the opener and then in the 40thminute Antoine Griezmann added the second and final goal of the first leg giving Atlético a comfortable lead going into the second leg.
That lead looks even more comfortable when one considers what happened next at Sporting. Sporting President Bruno de Carvalho attacked several players singling out players’ mistakes on social media. In response 18 players then lashed out against the president in social media, demanding “respect”, which was then followed by several media outlets reporting that Carvalho had suspended the 18 players in question.
It seemed like the club would be imploding but then ahead of Sunday’s match against Paços Ferreira several key players were included in the lineup with the club denying any rumours that key players were suspended, or had refused to train, and that head coach Jorge Jesus had asked to be fired.
Nonetheless, the entire situation will not help Sporting’s cause in overcoming a massive 2-0 goal deficit in the second leg against Atlético. Furthermore, Atlético have never given away a 2-0 lead from a first leg and with Sporting in disarray will be firm favourites to advance.
Sporting vs Atlético Madrid – Players to look out for:
Gelson Martins #77 – Sporting CP
Gelson Martins was among the players rumoured to be suspended. But on Sunday the winger was on the field. Linked with various top teams and with Sporting dependent on transfer income the club was always unlikely to force Martins out of the club. With top striker Bas Dost unavailable Gelson Martins will likely be asked to play a supporting striker role to either Seydou Doumbia or Fredy Montero.
Antoine Griezmann #7 – Atlético Madrid
Will he stay, or will he go? Antoine Griezmann has been at the centre of many transfer rumours with Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United all mentioned as possible destinations. With 18 goals and eight assists in 27 La Liga games, there is no doubt that Griezmann would be a fantastic addition to any club. The forward has also added two goals and three assists in three Europa League games and has now told the press that a decision on his future will be made ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Sporting vs Atlético Madrid – Match Stats
- The two sides last met in the round of 16 of the 2009/10 Europa League with Atlético advancing based on away goal after a 2-2 aggregate draw (0-0, 2-2).
- Atlético would move on and eventually win the competition that year.
- Atlético have won nine of their 19 UEFA competition matches against Portuguese clubs (D4 L6) and five of their nine in Madrid.
- Atlético’s record in Portugal is W3 D2 L4. Their three victories have come in the last three visits.
- Sporting have won only two of their last eight home games in UEFA competitions.
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: Sporting vs Atlético Madrid – 0-4
Sporting vs Atlético Madrid – Lineups
Patricio – Mathieu, Coates, Ristovski – Acuña, Battaglia, Fernandes, Ruiz, Wendel – Martins, Doumbia
Head Coach: Jorge Jesus
Oblak – Hernández, Godin, Savic, Isaac – Gabi, Koke – Ñiguez, Correa – Griezmann, Diego Costa
Head Coach: Diego Simeone
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth. Or contact him via email: email@example.com.