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Atlético de Madrid - Real Betis Balompié: Champions League chasers clash at the Cívitas Metropolitano

Atlético can take a huge step toward clinching top four.

Atletico de Madrid v Valencia CF - LaLiga Santander
Jan Oblak will break the club record for games played by a foreign-born Rojiblanco.
Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid welcome injury-plagued Real Betis to the Cívitas Metropolitano on Sunday, when the Colchoneros will try to extend their current unbeaten run in LaLiga to 11 games.

Atlético (15-6-5, 51 points) have never lost to Betis (13-6-7, 45 points) at home in the league during the Diego Simeone Era and have not conceded a goal on any of the Verdiblancos’ past six visits to the capital. With another victory Sunday, Atleti will open up a nine-point gap to fifth place with 11 games remaining.

“We’re looking at tomorrow’s game. Our opponent plays well (and has) a coach with very defined stylistic quirks. He’s always communicated these in his teams, and they compete very well,” Simeone told the media on Saturday. “Betis have been growing year after year, and tomorrow, we will have to take the game to where we think we can hurt them.”

Real Betis v Atletico de Madrid - LaLiga Santander
Antoine Griezmann scored both goals in Atlético’s 2-1 win over Betis in October.
Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Both sides have injury problems entering Sunday’s partidazo. Manuel Pellegrini’s Betis will touch down in Madrid without Sergio Canales (suspension), Andrés Guardado (suspension), Nabil Fékir (knee injury), and Youssouf Sabaly (ankle injury). Atlético have to contend with the long-term absence of Reinildo Mandava as well as a new hamstring injury to Memphis, whose spot in the starting 11 will go to Álvaro Morata.

The only other change to Atleti’s 11 from the pre-FIFA break win over Valencia is likely to be Thomas Lemar stepping in for Rodrigo de Paul in midfield. This means goalkeeper Jan Oblak is set to tie former teammate Diego Godín’s club record 389 appearances by a foreign-born player. Oblak has won 10 of 14 previous appearances against Betis and kept clean sheets in half of those games.

“It’s a very important fact, to be able to equal the number of games played by a friend like Godín,” Oblak told the club’s social media channels. “We played together for many years. Now he’s no longer here (at the club), but we are still friends, so I am happy to match him.”

Date April 2, 2023

Location Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid

Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CEST, 8:00 p.m. BST, 3:00 p.m. EST, 12:00 p.m. PST

Available TV/streaming ESPN+ (United States), DAZN (Spain), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom)