Atlético v Sporting CP background
Eager to atone for an early UEFA Champions League exit with a third UEFA Europa League crown, Atlético Madrid are seeking a fifth straight win in the competition this spring as they host Sporting Clube de Portugal in the first leg of the quarter-final at the Estadio Metropolitano.
• Having crossed over to the UEFA Europa League after finishing third in their UEFA Champions League group, Atlético made light work of both Danish champions FC København in the round of 32 and Russian league leaders Lokomotiv Moskva in the round of 16, winning all four matches and racking up 13 goals.
• Third also in their UEFA Champions League group, Sporting beat Astana 6-4 on aggregate in the round of 32 before edging past Viktoria Plzeň in extra time of their round of 16 tie, Rodrigo Battaglia’s header giving the Lisbon club a 3-2 victory over the two legs.
• Atlético and Sporting met in the round of 16 of the inaugural 2009/10 UEFA Europa League, with the Spanish club, coached by Quique Sánchez Flores, going through on away goals after a 0-0 draw in Madrid was followed by a 2-2 draw against Carlos Carvalhal’s side in Lisbon. Sergio Agüero scored twice past Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patrício to help Atlético qualify for the quarter-finals of a competition they went on to win.
• Atlético have won eight of their 18 UEFA competition matches against Portuguese clubs (D4 L6) and five of the nine in Madrid (D2 L2). The last Portuguese visitors to the Estadio Vicente Calderón, Benfica, won there in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage (2-1) – Atlético’s only defeat in their final 23 European fixtures at their former home (W18 D4).
• Diego Costa was on target in each of Atlético’s two home games against Portuguese opposition prior to that Benfica defeat – group wins against FC Porto in the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League (2-0) and Académica Coimbra in the previous season’s UEFA Europa League (2-1).
• Defeated in their last five matches against Spanish clubs, Sporting have never won in 12 trips to Spain (D3 L9), and the goalless draw at Atlético in 2009/10 is the only time they have avoided defeat in their last seven visits. Those include a decisive 3-1 loss at Athletic Club in the second leg of the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League semi-final and a 2-0 defeat at Barcelona in this season’s UEFA Champions League.
• Atlético have won 14 of their last 15 home fixtures in the UEFA Europa League, qualifying included, and have yet to concede in their two victories at the Estadio Metropolitano.
• UEFA Europa League victors in 2010 and 2012, Atlético are making their first appearance in the competition in five years. Since then Diego Simeone’s side have appeared in two UEFA Champions League finals and reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals in two other seasons.
• Atlético have won three of their five European matches in their new stadium, losing the first of them 1-2 to Chelsea on matchday two of this season’s UEFA Champions League. That, however, is the Madrid club’s only defeat in their last 16 European home games (W12 D3).
• Atlético have lost only once at home in 11 UEFA Europa League knockout phase encounters – 0-2 to Rubin Kazan in 2012/13. They went eight games undefeated at the Vicente Calderón during the competition’s knockout rounds (W5 D3) en route to lifting the trophy in 2009/10 and 2011/12.
• Successful in both of their UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, against Valencia in 2009/10 (2-2 away, 0-0 home) and Hannover in 2011/12 (2-1 home, 2-1 away), Atlético’s overall record in UEFA competition quarter-final ties is W15 L5, the most recent of those victories having come against Leicester City in last season’s UEFA Champions League (1-0 home, 1-1 away). They have lost just one of their 20 home games at the quarter-final stage (W14 D5) – 2-3 against Ajax in the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League – and have not conceded in any of the last four.
• The Madrid club have won all four of their UEFA Europa League fixtures this term – the only club to have achieved 100% success in the first two knockout rounds.
• Atlético finished third in the Spanish Liga last season, and this is only the second time in eight attempts that they have failed to progress beyond the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. However, on the only other occasion, in 2009/10, they went on to win the UEFA Europa League.
• Sporting have lost seven of their last ten European away fixtures – and 19 of their last 28 (W4 D5). They have won only two and lost 11 of their last 17 games outside Lisbon in the UEFA Europa League, with the 3-1 round of 32 victory in Astana ending a run of 11 away games without a win (D6 L5) in the UEFA Cup/UEFA Europa League knockout phase.
• The Lions, who finished runners-up in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup, losing the final in their own stadium to CSKA Moskva (1-3), are in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals for the second time. They won the first such tie, overcoming Metalist Kharkiv 3-2 on aggregate in 2011/12 (2-1 home, 1-1 away).
• This is Sporting’s tenth quarter-final in UEFA competition. They have won five of the previous nine but have never won the away leg (D4 L5), those defeats including a 0-2 reverse against Real Sociedad in the 1982/83 European Cup on their first visit to Spain.
• Sporting finished third in last season’s Portuguese Liga and reached the UEFA Champions League group stage with a 5-1 win away to Romanian side FCSB in the play-offs, which clinched an aggregate success by the same margin. They finished third in their section behind Barcelona and Juventus.
Links and trivia
• This is the only tie between two teams that have previously participated in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals. Indeed, they are the only two clubs still in the field that have prior experience of the semi-finals.
• Atlético are the only former UEFA Europa League winners in the quarter-finals, although CSKA Moskva lifted the UEFA Cup in 2005.
• Sporting have participated in seven of the nine UEFA Europa League campaigns. Only Ajax (eight appearances) have been involved in more.
• Sporting boss Jorge Jesus coached a team in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, for the 50th time in their round of 16 second leg at Viktoria Plzeň. Only one other coach has reached that competition milestone – three-time trophy winner Unai Emery (59 games).
• Rui Patrício has been on the field for every minute of Sporting’s 12 European encounters in 2017/18. He has kept just two clean sheets.
• Atlético defenders Diego Godín and José María Giménez are Uruguay national team-mates of Sporting centre-back Sebastián Coates.
• Sporting defender Jérémy Mathieu has played alongside Antoine Griezmann for France.
• Rui Patrício and William Carvalho were in the Portugal side that defeated Griezmann’s France 1-0 after extra time in the UEFA EURO 2016 final. There is a statue of the goalkeeper in his home town of Leiria depicting a spectacular save he made from a Griezmann header in that Stade de France showpiece.
• Atlético’s Jan Oblak (Benfica, Olhanense, Leiria, Rio Ave) and Diego Costa (Penafiel, Braga) have both represented Portuguese clubs, while Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), Mathieu (Valencia, Barcelona) and Cristiano Piccini (Real Betis) have all played in Spain.
• Fábio Coentrão is on loan to Sporting from Atlético’s city rivals Real Madrid. In five seasons with the Merengues he faced Atlético 12 times, recording six wins (including the 2014 UEFA Champions League final), one draw and five defeats.
• Vitolo and Kevin Gameiro both played in Sevilla’s victory in the 2014 UEFA Europa League final over a Benfica side coached by Jorge Jesus; Gameiro scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out after a 0-0 draw in Turin.
• Diego Costa and Filipe Luís were in the Chelsea side that defeated Sporting twice in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League group stage (1-0 away, 3-1 home); Stefan Savić faced Sporting for Manchester City in the second leg of the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 16, which City won 3-2 but were eliminated on away goals.
• Spanish clubs have scored 498 goals in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final. This is the 299th match in the competition proper featuring a team from Spain. Both figures are records for a single nation.
• Sporting pair Coates and William Carvalho return from one-match bans for this match.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Ángel Correa (Atlético); Marcos Acuña, Fábio Coentrão, Gelson Martins, Bruno Fernandes, Rodrigo Battaglia, Bas Dost (Sporting).
• Diego Simeone has been the Atlético coach since December 2011, and has added five trophies to the club’s collection, including the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League, as well as steering the Madrid club to the UEFA Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016. The combative ex-Argentina midfielder also had two spells at Atlético as a player, winning the Spanish double in 1995/96.
• Jorge Jesus was lured to Sporting from Lisbon rivals Benfica in 2015 after six seasons as head coach with the Eagles that brought ten domestic trophies, including three Liga titles, plus two runners-up berths in the UEFA Europa League – in 2012/13 to Chelsea and 2013/14 to Sevilla. His relatively discreet playing career started with Sporting in the early 1970s.