By 90Min
April 04, 2018

Atlético Madrid host Sporting CP in the quarter finals of the Europa League on Thursday evening.

The Spanish side will be without two key defenders, but otherwise, have a strong squad to select from. Meanwhile, Sporting will be buoyed by the return of Sebastian Coates and William Carvalho who missed the last European tie through suspension.

Below is a look at a classic encounter between the two sides, as well as the key battles that could win or lose the match on Thursday evening, the team news from each camp and more.


Classic Encounter

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The two teams met in the inaugural Europa League round of 16 back in the 2009/10 season. The two legs of the tie were the only times the two sides have faced each other in the competition.

Atlético Madrid, then managed by Quique Sánchez Flores, held Sporting CP to a 0-0 draw in the first leg in the Spanish capital, and sealed an away goals victory with a 2-2 draw in Lisbon.

Despite goals from Liédson and Ânderson Polga for Carlos Carvalhal's Sporting side, a brace from Sergio Agüero saw Flores' side progress, in a competition they went on to win.


Key Battles

Antoine Griezmann vs Sebastián Coates

Griezmann has scored an impressive 23 goals in 38 games across all competitions for his club this season, and has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona.

Four of those goals have come in nine appearances in European competitions, a healthy return that he will be looking to continue on Thursday. 

However, he will be up against former Liverpool defender Sebastián Coates, who has settled into the Sporting side well since his return to Portuguese football.


Saúl Niguez vs William Carvalho

William Carvalho is set to return to the side following a recent injury, and he was also suspended for the club's last Europa League tie.

The defensive midfielder will be a key part of stopping Atlético's threat through the centre of the park. He will be looking to keep Saúl Niguez quiet and limit the Spanish side's opportunities through the middle. 

That will be no easy feat, however, as Niguez has scored three goals in nine European appearances so far this season.


Team News

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Atlético will be without at least two defenders for the tie, with José Giménez and Filipe Luis ruled out through injury.

Right backs Juanfran and Sime Vrsaljko both returned to full training this week - according to Marca - yet it is not 100% clear whether they will be available for the weekend.


For Sporting, two key players return from one-match suspensions. Sebastian Coates and William Carvalho will be back in action after missing the club's last Europa League game.

The Portuguese side have three injuries to contend with. Striker Seydou Doumbia and wide midfielders Daniel Podence and Bruno César are all ruled out of this tie.


Predicted Atlético Madrid lineup: Oblak; Juanfran, Godín, Savić, Hernandez; Correa, Saúl, Thomas, Koke; Costa, Griezmann.


Predicted Sporting Lisbon lineup: Patricio; Piccini, Coates, Mathieu, Coentrao; Battaglia, Carvalho; Martins, Fernandes, Ribero; Dost.


Prediction

PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/GettyImages

Both teams have had a good run to the quarter finals so far, however Antoine Griezmann and Diego Costa may simply have too much for the Sporting back line. 

The Spaniards also have a well balanced midfield that will hold them in good stead, as well as a strong defensive line - despite a couple of injuries. 

Sporting perform well in their domestic league, but Diego Simeone's side may be too hot to handle on the European stage.

Prediction: Atlético Madrid 2-0 Sporting CP

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