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Astana prepare frosty reception for Atlético

"Maybe the cold weather will cause Atlético problems," said coach Stanimir Stoilov as Astana look to upset the Group C odds, Diego Simeone backing the visitors to thrive in adversity.

Atlético players wrap up against the cold in Astana
Atlético players wrap up against the cold in Astana ©AFP/Getty Images

Possible lineup
Astana: Erić; Ilić, Aničić, Postnikov, Shomko; Maksimović, Cañas, Zhukov, Kéthévoama; Dzholchiyev; Nuserbayev.
Out: none
Doubtful: Maksimović (nausea)

Atlético: Oblak; Gámez, Savić, Godín, Siqueira; Saúl, Gabi, Koke, Carrasco; Griezmann, Torres.
Out: none

Stanimir Stoilov, Astana coach
Yes, Atlético are the favourites but anything can happen in football. It's a really long and complicated journey from Madrid to get here; we have had trips to Lisbon and Madrid so we know how hard it is. Maybe the cold weather will cause Atlético problems. We can open the roof in the stadium a bit to make it tougher for them.

Stanimir Stoilov hopes the cold will even things up
Stanimir Stoilov hopes the cold will even things up©AFP/Getty Images

Diego Simeone, Atlético coach
What I like about Astana is that they play as a single unit, regardless of how they are set up tactically. When we were children we played on the street – on tarmac and surfaces like that – so artificial pitches are just one more condition for us, just as sun, wind or snow are. We should be able to deal with any conditions.

Weekend results
Astana 1-0 Irtysh (Nuserbayev 57)
After a week in which they beat title rivals Kairat Almaty and then Atyrau to go top of Kazakhstan's Premier League with two games to go, Astana overcame Irtysh through Tanat Nuserbayev's second-half effort. They will face Aktobe on the final day of the season next Sunday holding a one-point lead.

Inside the Astana camp

Deportivo 1-1 Atlético (Lucas 77; Tiago 34)
The visitors dominated the first half and were rewarded when Tiago thumped them in front from the edge of the box. Yet fourth-placed Atleti were forced to settle for a point when Lucas prised an equaliser with 13 minutes remaining.

Form guide (all competitions, most recent first)
Astana: WWWLWW
Atlético: DWWWDL

Reporter's view: Eugene Ravdin (@UEFAcomEugeneR)
It started to snow as Atlético landed in Astana on Sunday night; by Monday morning the ground was white. That presents a challenge for the Spanish side, though they came prepared for freezing temperatures. Unable to clinch their domestic championship at the weekend, Astana face a last-day decider against Aktobe on Sunday. Stoilov might be inclined to rest some regulars for that game, as he did in Madrid.

Did you know?
Before this campaign, Astana's only experience of tackling Spanish opponents was a sobering one – the club losing 3-0 at home and 4-0 away to Villarreal in last term's UEFA Europa League play-offs; find out more in our extensive match background.  

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