Qarabag FK vs Atlético Madrid Preview: Atléti looking to kickstart their European campaign

18 October 2017 | 1:10 pm

Qarabag FK vs Atlético Madrid Preview: Atléti looking to
kickstart their European campaign

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Antoine Griezmann showing his frustration against Barcelona.

Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid travel to Azerbaijan, where they will face Qarabag FK in desperate need for a win.

The Spanish giants are without a win in their opening two Champions League games, drawing 0-0 at Roma before losing 2-1 to Chelsea at home.

While this is a game they should be winning, there is added pressure because the opening two fixtures have not gone to plan.

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Atléti looking to improve

Simeone said: “We are still alive in all competitions. Words count for little, actions are what count, how we understand the path of the team.”

“The group are very well, we played a good game against Barcelona.” They drew 1-1 against Barcelona on Saturday. “We were ahead against Barca, who had won all their games before, until the 82nd minute. There is always a possibility for criticism, and inside we are the first to look to improve.”

Simeone won’t take this clash lightly though, and said: “All games are different and the opponent, although they might seem weak, played a good first half against Chelsea and Roma found it tough to get the win.”

He went on to say: “Everyone makes it tough for visiting teams. We want to go out and be comfortable playing our game.”

Qarabag however have lost both of their opening two games, 6-0 against Chelsea and 2-1 against Roma. They have won the Azerbaijani league four straight times. 

 

 

Atléti’s Azerbaijan links

While this is the first time the two have played against each other, the Madrid side do have ties with Azerbaijan.

The Spanish side were sponsored by Azerbaijan’s tourist board a few years back, and Simeone even organised a coaching clinic in the capital in 2013, featuring Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Thiabut Courtois.

Simeone said: “I don’t know the history of Qarabag, but our relationship with Azerbaijan was good,” he went on to say, “It happened in a very good moment and I hope we get the same energy we got the last time.”

No injury problems

Atlético Madrid currently have no injury problems, but Juanfran and Luciano Vietto are set to miss the game having not been named in the 19-man squad.

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Costa isn’t eligible to play until January following his transfer from Chelsea.

Predicted XI

Qarabag FK: Kanibolotsky; Agolli, Guseynov, Rzezniczak, Medvedev; Michel, Richard; Madatov, Quintana, Elyounoussi; Ndlovu

Atlético Madrid: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Godin, Savic, Luis; Koke, Saul, Gabi, Carrasco; Greizmann, Correa.

The game kicks off at 17:00 GMT, Wednesday 18 October.

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