Atlético aiming to finish the job
Friday, November 7, 2008
Denied early qualification for the last 16 by an added-time penalty equaliser at Anfield in their last outing, Club Atlético de Madrid will try again when they take on PSV Eindhoven in the Spanish capital on Matchday 5.
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Denied early qualification for the last 16 by a penalty equaliser five minutes into added time at Anfield in their last outing, Club Atlético de Madrid will try again when they take on PSV Eindhoven in the Spanish capital on Matchday 5.
• Atlético's 1-1 draw at Liverpool FC on 4 November kept them top of the Group D standings with eight points, ahead of the English club on goal difference. Despite the frustration of dropping two points at the last, they remain strongly placed to progress from the section and will do so if they beat PSV.
• With Atlético and Liverpool both lying five points clear of Olympique de Marseille and PSV, Javier Aguirre's side will also qualify if they draw against the Dutch champions and Liverpool avoid defeat in their home fixture against Marseille.
• PSV, by contrast, missed the chance to close the gap on the top two when losing 3-0 at Marseille on Matchday 4, a defeat that sent them to the foot of the table, with the French side leapfrogging them thanks to a superior head-to-head record.
• Huub Stevens' men now must win in Spain to avoid elimination from the UEFA Champions League although a more realistic aim now would be to try and secure third place ahead of Marseille.
• PSV's recent record on their travels in the UEFA Champions League does not augur well – they have lost four and won one of their last five – and they face opponents with a formidable home record in Europe's élite club competition. In 24 matches, Atlético have recorded 17 wins, four draws and just three losses.
• Atlético were 3-0 winners at PSV on Matchday 1, Sergio Agüero (9, 36) and Maniche (54) the scorers. They subsequently recorded a 2-1 victory against Marseille and 1-1 draw with Liverpool, both at the Vicente Calderón, prior to their previous outing, the draw at Anfield.
• PSV's solitary victory so far was a 2-0 success at home against Marseille on Matchday 3 and they have lost both of their away fixtures so far, going down 3-1 at Liverpool, then 3-0 at Marseille.
• Atlético's home record against Dutch opposition reads three wins and one defeat from four matches, although in each of those ties they finished up losers on aggregate.
• AFC Ajax were the first and also most recent Eredivisie side to come to the Vicente Calderón. Atlético beat them 1-0 in the first leg of their European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-final in 1970/71 but lost the tie 3-1 overall.
• In the 1996/97 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals Atlético drew 1-1 in Amsterdam but then lost 3-2 at home after extra time.
• In between, the Madrid club recorded 2-1 home wins against FC Groningen in the first round of the 1983/84 and 1988/89 UEFA Cup competitions only to crash out after away defeats.
• Atlético's overall record against Dutch sides is P9 W4 D1 L4.
• This is PSV's eleventh away match against Spanish opposition and they are stilll seeking a first victory. Their record in Spain is P10 W0 D4 L6.
• PSV have never visited Atlético before but they have taken on their cross-city rivals Real Madrid CF four times in the Spanish capital, recording one draw and three defeats. That solitary draw came in the first leg of their 1987/88 European Cup semi-final – the 1-1 scoreline setting up an away goals triumph for PSV after a goalless second leg. Gerets featured in both of those matches as well as the final which the Dutch club won on penalties against SL Benfica.
• PSV coach Stevens has a good record against Spanish opposition. As a player with PSV, he was in the team that beat Real Sporting de Gijón 1-0 on aggregate in the 1979/80 UEFA Cup first round.
• As coach of FC Schalke 04, Stevens oversaw victories against Valencia CF and CD Tenerife en route to their 1996/97 UEFA Cup final win against FC Internazionale Milano. His Schalke side lost 1-0 at home against RCD Mallorca in the 2001/02 UEFA Champions League group stage but then defeated them 4-0 on their travels.
• PSV trio Otman Bakkal, Dirk Marcellis and Erik Pieters were in the Netherlands team beaten by an Argentina side featuring Atlético's Sergio Agüero in the last eight of the Olympic Football Tournament in China. Bakkal scored for the Netherlands but it was not enough to prevent a 2-1 extra-time reverse.
• Atlético's Dutch international defender, John Heitinga, will need no introduction to PSV having spent seven seasons in the first team of their Eredivisie rivals AFC Ajax, prior to decamping to the Spanish capital last summer. In his time at Ajax Heitinga played nine Eredivisie matches against PSV and finished on the losing side in five of them, all bar one of those losses coming in home matches.
• Atlético forward Diego Forlán had a brief spell playing alongside PSV defender Jan Kromkamp with Villarreal CF during the 2005/06 season.
• Atlético's Luis García played for Liverpool FC against PSV in the 2006/07 UEFA Champions League group stage while goalkeeper Grégory Coupet was in the Olympique Lyonnais side that eliminated the Eindhoven club in the first knockout round the previous season. He was also part of the team that lost on penalties to the Dutch side in the 2004/05 quarter-finals.
• The Spanish club's Czech defender, Tomáš Ujfaluši, featured in the Fiorentina side that beat PSV 3-1 on aggregate in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals last term.
• PSV's French defender Jérémie Bréchet made 20 league appearances for Real Sociedad de Fútbol during a two-year stay in Spain between 2004 and 2006.
• The game will be played behind closed doors following the decision of the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body to sanction Atlético for a series of incidents at the match against Marseille on 1 October. Including this game, the Spanish club will play their next two home fixtures in UEFA club competition without any spectators, with one match deferred for two years. The club have also been fined €150,000.