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Although Tonel will miss Sporting Clube de Portugal's UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg against Club Atlético de Madrid, the defender believes his team-mates learned enough from last week's scoreless opening encounter to advance.
The Lions finished the stalemate with Atlético at the Vicente Calderón with nine men after Leandro Grimi and Tonel were sent off, leaving them suspended for the return.
Yet having stifled the Spanish team's attack once already, they are confident they can finish the job at the Estádio José Alvalade. "We got a good result and left their place in good spirits because we tried to win that match," Tonel told UEFA.com. "I'm just sorry I won't be playing the next game."
With all the pre-match talk in the Spanish capital having centred around Atlético's Sporting old boy Simão and his attacking colleagues Sergio Agüero and Diego Forlán, Tonel was delighted with his side's rearguard action. "We defended well and were well-organised," the 29-year-old Portuguese international said, "and though it was difficult to cope at times, especially with Agüero whose movement was exceptional, we managed."
Sporting coach Carlos Carvalhal echoed those sentiments yet remains wary of an Atlético outfit showing decent form under his opposite number Quique Sánchez Flores. "Don't forget this team have beaten Barcelona and Valencia in the last month," he warned. "Hopefully our fans will help us get past what will be a tricky opponent."
Visiting midfielder Paulo Assunção, meanwhile, is optimistic despite the fact Los Colchoneros have never won a competitive game in Portugal. "We can take positives from the first leg, because we didn't concede a goal," the former FC Porto player told UEFA.com. "It is still 0-0 and we know if we score it's going to change everything. We have a good team with good attackers who can make a difference at any moment."
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