Atlético on the ropes for Roma return
Tuesday, November 7, 2017
Atlético Madrid have failed to get a win on the board from four Group C fixtures and time is fast running out as they take on Roma, who need a point to go through.
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Club Atlético de Madrid's UEFA Champions League hopes hang in the balance as they entertain AS Roma looking to get their first Group C win at the fifth time of asking.
• Diego Simeone's side, who drew 0-0 in Rome on opening night, sit third in the section on three points, five behind their opponents, who are top, and four adrift of Chelsea FC. Qarabağ FK have two points.
• Atlético will remain in contention with a win, or with a draw if Chelsea lose at Qarabağ. They will seal at least third place if they win and Qarabağ lose.
• Roma are through with a draw. They will clinch first place if they win and Chelsea do not.
• Atlético won both of the teams' only previous fixtures before this season, posting 2-1 victories home and away in the 1998/99 UEFA Cup quarter-finals. José Mari (13) and Roberto (46) scored for Atlético in the home first leg, with a Luigi Di Biagio away goal (75) giving Roma hope for the return.
• The hosts were level on aggregate 32 minutes into the Stadio Olimpico return through Marco Delvecchio, but Juan Carlos Aguilera levelled on the night on the hour and Roberto's second goal of the tie (88) gave the Spanish club another 2-1 victory and a 4-2 aggregate success.
• Simeone's charges are still without a win at home in this season's competition, having been beaten 2-1 by Chelsea on matchday two before being held 1-1 by Qarabağ last time out.
• The Chelsea defeat ended Atlético's 11-match unbeaten run at home in Europe (W9 D2); last term Atleti won five of their six home games.
• Atlético won 30 of their last 36 European fixtures at the Calderón, losing just twice. They are still to win in the Estadio Metropolitano in Europe.
• Third in Spain in 2016/17, Atlético only missed out on becoming the seventh side to win all six matches in a UEFA Champions League group when they went down 1-0 at FC Bayern München on matchday six last season.
• Simeone's men went on to reach the semi-finals, but a 3-0 first-leg reversal at Real Madrid CF proved too much to retrieve despite a 2-1 second-leg success in the last European game played at the Vicente Calderón.
• Atlético's home record against teams from Italy is W7 D0 L3, most recently a 1-0 win against Juventus in the 2014/15 group stage.
• Roma's away record against Spanish rivals is W4 D3 L7. They were 4-0 winners at Villarreal CF in last season's UEFA Europa League round of 32.
• The Giallorossi have picked up four points from their two away games, a 2-1 victory at Qarabağ and a 3-3 draw at Chelsea.
• That Qarabağ success was Roma's first win in eight UEFA Champions League matches, home and away and including qualifying, since a 3-2 home victory over Bayer 04 Leverkusen on 4 November 2015. Matchday four's 3-0 scalp of Chelsea means they have now won three of their last 19 games in the competition.
• The Italian side were eliminated by FC Porto in last season's play-offs (1-1 away, 0-3 home). They got as far as the UEFA Europa League round of 16, where they were defeated 5-4 over two legs by Olympique Lyonnais.
• Roma won two of their five away fixtures in last season's UEFA Europa League but, in the UEFA Champions League, were without a victory in ten away matches, including qualifying (D5 L5), before matchday two. A 3-2 triumph at FC Basel 1893 in the 2009/10 group stage is their only other victory in their last 15 away games in the competition, group stage to final (D6 L7).
• Second in Serie A in 2016/17, Roma are in the group stage for a tenth time and the third in four years.
Coach and player links
• Simeone played for SS Lazio between 1999 and 2003, winning a league and cup double in his first campaign. Simeone also met Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco in two Rome derbies in 1999/2000, a 4-1 away defeat and 2-1 home win for Lazio.
• Simeone also played for AC Pisa (1990–92) and FC Internazionale Milano (1997–99) and coached Calcio Catania (2011) in Italy. His son Giovanni is at ACF Fiorentina and faced Di Francesco's son, Federico, when his side played Bologna FC on 16 September: Fiorentina won 2-1.
• Have played together:
Kevin Gameiro & Federico Fazio, Diego Perotti (Sevilla FC, 2013/14)
Fernando Torres & Stephan El Shaarawy (AC Milan 2014/15)
• International team-mates:
Yannick Carrasco & Radja Nainggolan (Belgium)
Antoine Griezmann & Maxime Gonalons (France)
Filipe Luís & Alisson Becker (Brazil)
• Have played in Italy:
Šime Vrsaljko (Genoa FC, 2013/14; US Sassuolo Calcio, 2014–16)
Fernando Torres (AC Milan, 2014/15)
Stefan Savić (ACF Fiorentina, 2012–15)
• Have played in Spain:
Héctor Moreno (RCD Espanyol, 2011–15)
Federico Fazio (Sevilla FC, 2007–14, 2016)
Diego Perotti (Sevilla FC, 2008–14)
• Monchi spent 11 years as a player with Sevilla before becoming the club's sporting director in 2000. He left the post in April 2017, taking up a similar role with Roma this summer.
• Daniele De Rossi scored a penalty equaliser against Koke's Spain in Italy's 1-1 draw in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier in October 2016.
• De Rossi also played when Italy beat Juanfran's Spain 2-0 in the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16, while Torres scored for Spain in a 4-0 triumph over De Rossi's Italy in the UEFA EURO 2012 final.
• Saúl Ñíguez hit a hat-trick as Spain dispatched Lorenzo Pellegrini's Italy 3-1 in the semi-finals of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship this summer.
• Stefan Savić serves a one-game suspension on matchday five.
• The 2-1 loss to Chelsea FC on matchday two is Atlético's only defeat in their last 21 matches in all competitions, a sequence stretching back to early May.
• Atlético have drawn seven of their nine games since matchday two, scoring just six goals in the process and never more than one in a game. On Saturday they drew 0-0 with Real Madrid CF.
• Antoine Griezmann has not scored for Atlético since that defeat by Chelsea, a run of eight games.
• Luciano Vietto is without a goal in 2017 – a run of 16 matches without scoring.
• Thomas Partey has scored three goals in his last five games for Atlético, equalling his highest tally in any season at the club.
• Šime Vrsaljko provided two assists in Croatia's 4-1 win over Greece in the first leg of the play-offs for the World Cup.
• Griezmann scored in France's 2-0 friendly win over Wales on 10 November.
• Griezmann is on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or. The winner will be announced on 6 December.
• Roma have won their last six matches, keeping four clean sheets during that run.
• Allison has kept seven clean sheets in 12 Serie A games this season.
• Roma have won 12 successive away games in Serie A, an Italian top-flight record.
• After scoring seven goals in his first six Serie A appearances this season, Džeko has not found the net in six consecutive league games.
• Gerson scored twice in the 4-2 win against ACF Fiorentina on 5 November to open his Giallorossi account in his 20th appearance for the club in all competitions.
• Daniele De Rossi announced his international retirement after Italy's FIFA World Cup play-off defeat by Sweden. His tally of 117 caps is bettered only by Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro and Paolo Maldini.
• Radja Nainggolan returned from international duty with a groin injury picked up in training with Belgium but started and scored in Saturday's 2-1 derby win against SS Lazio.
• Summer signing Rick Karsdorp, only just back after knee and thigh injuries, ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on his Giallorossi debut against FC Crotone on 25 October.
• Džeko, the 29-goal Serie A top scorer last season, is on the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or. The winner will be announced on 6 December.