Sports

Atlético Madrid, Elche meet in LaLiga for first time since 2015

Armed with three video games in hand, first-place Atlético Madrid will look to go three factors clear atop LaLiga on Saturday afternoon.

Elche come to city for the primary time since a Copa del Rey assembly in 2017, again when the Alicante-based aspect performed in Segunda B. Three seasons later, Jorge Almirón’s males discover themselves again within the prime flight after being condemned to relegation for monetary irregularities 5 years in the past. They’ve been exhausting to beat — regardless of being outshot by practically 100 makes an attempt this season, Saturday’s guests have 4 attracts from their previous 5 video games and sit three factors above the drop zone.

Photograph by Jose Miguel Fernandez/NurPhoto through Getty Photos

Atlético climbed atop LaLiga on purpose distinction following Actual Sociedad’s loss at Barcelona on Wednesday. Relatively than taking part in a league sport that day, Los Rojiblancos superior within the Copa del Rey, the place they are going to face Segunda B aspect Cornellà in January. Which may as nicely be by no means for Diego Simeone, who didn’t touch upon the cup throughout Friday’s media availability.

“Elche are doing nicely, maybe the outcomes don’t mirror pretty on what they’ve finished,” Simeone mentioned. “(They’ve) a possession fashion, an Argentine coach (who took) a terrific step ahead in soccer there, and he will certainly do nicely in Spain. They are going to be a demanding opponent.”

Atleti have by no means misplaced a house match to Elche and have a staggering 23 wins from 26 conferences between the league and the cup. On Saturday, Simeone will reintroduce the star expertise he rested at Cardassar midweek. The coach additionally welcomes again Diego Costa to the fold, a lot sooner than anticipated, following his deep vein thrombosis analysis.

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Photograph credit score ought to learn DANI POZO/AFP through Getty Photos

“I see (Costa) spectacularly, he’s a really constructive man, sturdy mentally and nothing takes him out of his combating spirit, in life and within the sport,” Simeone mentioned. “We hope that he’s nicely on a private degree and, when he’s accessible, demand what he may give us, which is so much.”

Costa scored in every of Atlético’s 2-0 wins over Elche in the course of the 2013/14 season, nevertheless it stays to be seen what sort of position he’ll have on this sport — the newest iteration of a 61-year-old fixture — with João Félix and Luis Suárez set to start out up prime. There are lingering coronavirus considerations across the first crew after backup goalkeeper Ivo Grbić examined constructive Friday morning, however the expectation stays that the sport will go on as deliberate.

(Grbić is the ninth first-team participant to check constructive for coronavirus since Could.)

“The physician advised us (Friday) morning that there had been a constructive, and now we have to stay with this example,” Simeone mentioned. “It’s a troublesome 12 months, with many circumstances to face and it’ll occur to us, and to others and now we have to discover a method to remedy it.

The squad

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Date Dec. 19, 2020

Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid

Kickoff time 2:00 p.m. CET, 1:00 p.m. GMT, 8:00 a.m. EST, 5:00 a.m. PST

Available TV/streaming Movistar+ (Spain), iQiyi (China), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom), ESPN Sur (Uruguay), beIN Sports activities (United States)

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