Saúl Ñíguez and Luis Suárez are back in contention for Atlético Madrid, as Los Colchoneros get set for another Champions League matchup with Lokomotiv Moscow on Tuesday night.
Lokomotiv enter this match on a three-game losing streak, all 2-1 losses. It hasn’t been the side’s most impressive season overall — Lokomotiv sit seventh in the domestic table following a loss at Sochi on Saturday. But last week, Marko Nikolić’s team came just 11 minutes from nicking a point off Bayern Munich in the Russian capital.
“We are going to face a very competitive team,” Diego Simeone said Monday. “Except for the four draws in the last 14 games, (their) defeats were not by more than one goal.”
Simeone and Atlético know Tuesday night’s opponents well. This is the fifth meeting between Atlético and Lokomotiv over the past two years — and Cholo’s men won the previous four. Following an 8-1 aggregate win the Europa League last 16 in 2018, Atleti recorded two 2-0 wins over the Russian Premier League runners-up in last season’s group stage.
“The team is working well, I said it after drawing with Villarreal, losing with Bayern and winning at Osasuna.” Simeone said. “Tomorrow, there is a tough and difficult opponent who will demand the best from our team.”
“Lately we are attacking well and high up the pitch, and it is up to the defenders to keep the high line,” Stefan Savić said. “We are doing very well and the team looks good.”
Atleti have won three straight since the Bayern beatdown, ringing up eight goals and conceding three in that span. João Félix has four of those goals, and his strike partner Suárez should feel fresher after Simeone left him out of the squad that beat Osasuna on Saturday.
“Suárez’s presence generates everything,” Simeone said. “He generates a need for us to provide for him.
“(Diego) Costa and (Álvaro) Morata had other characteristics. Luis needs to have more players close to him, and live where he knows he will hurt the opposition,” Simeone said.
This marks the sixth instance in the past nine seasons where Simeone’s Atleti will play a European match on Russian soil. Should Saúl feature, he will make his 300th Atlético appearance. He has two goals (across four starts) against Lokomotiv, as does Félix.
Date Nov. 3, 2020
Location RZD Arena, Moscow, Russia
Kickoff time 8:55 p.m. MSK, 6:55 p.m. CET, 12:55 p.m. EST, 9:55 a.m. PST
Available TV/streaming Movistar Liga de Campeones 1 (Spain), TNT (Brazil), CCTV-5 (China), ESPN 2 Norte (Mexico), Eleven Sports 2 (Portugal), Match TV (Russia), BT Sport 1 (United Kingdom), CBS All Access (United States)