With both sides scoring freely, Club Atlético de Madrid's UEFA Europa League quarter-final decider against Valencia CF could be a real thriller, and both the hosts' Diego Forlán and visiting playmaker David Silva are backing their teams to prevail.
The last three matches Valencia and Atlético have played in the UEFA Europa League have yielded the spectacular total of 16 goals, and the Liga clubs also racked up a pair of 3-0 home victories at the weekend; Valencia against CA Osasuna and Atlético over RC Deportivo La Coruña. Los Colchoneros stole a march in Valencia last week with a counterattack-based 2-2 stalemate, but 24-year-old playmaker Silva believes that the finishing power Valencia showed in drawing 4-4 against Werder Bremen to graduate from the round of 16 will drive them into the semi-finals.
"We did it the difficult way in Germany and we are capable of repeating that in Madrid," Silva told UEFA.com. "We came away from the home leg with Atlético with a sense of frustration because we created chances and didn't finish them. Then we conceded to a breakaway and from a dead-ball situation, but we've had that experience before; some nights you create loads but the ball just doesn't seem to want to go in."
In the last round Valencia could only manage a 1-1 first-leg draw at home against Bremen, before a hat-trick from David Villa – who now has 26 goals in all competitions this season – helped them through. Silva sees parallels this week. "Playing Atlético felt very similar to the first leg against Werder because of the opportunities we didn't convert," he explained. "The Calderón is a difficult place to try to win, but if we create as many chances as we did in Germany then we'll do it. We will travel with confidence in our ability and we will show pride. We are well aware that scoring one goal and defending very well would put us in the semi-finals."
To do that, Valencia, who have yet to beat Atlético in three attempts this season, must nonetheless cope without the suspended Bruno Saltor and Éver Banega. They will also be facing a side coming into form at just the right time of the season, according to the host's Uruguay striker Forlán. "The first leg showed that we are capable of rigorous defensive order but still with the ability to get away goals," he said. "The team has been improving consistently, even though we are managing the demands of playing in a number of competitions."
Following the early-season appointment of Quique Sánchez Flores, Atlético have not only reached the final of Spain's Copa del Rey but stand on the verge of their first UEFA club competition semi-final since losing to Parma FC in the last four 11 years ago. "The first few months of the season were pretty complicated, but with the passage of time we have all begun to see the fruits of our hard work," added Forlán. "The coach sets good standards, the players have accepted his ideas and that's probably why we are doing so well in three competitions at the moment."
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