Atlético Madrid are closing in on the UEFA Europa League semi-final as they travel to Sporting CP with a 2-0 advantage
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Atlético Madrid's pursuit of a third UEFA Europa League crown gathered pace as they posted a fifth successive victory in this season's competition to defeat Sporting CP 2-0 in the Spanish capital. The Lisbon club face a tough task to overturn the deficit given their recent difficulties against opposition from Spain.
• Third in their UEFA Champions League group, Sporting beat Astana 6-4 on aggregate in the round of 32 before edging past Viktoria Plzeň in extra time of their round of 16 tie, Rodrigo Battaglia's header giving the Lisbon club a 3-2 victory over the two legs.
• Having also crossed over to the UEFA Europa League after finishing third in their UEFA Champions League group, Atlético made light work of both Danish champions FC København in the round of 32 and Russian league leaders Lokomotiv Moskva in the round of 16, winning all four matches and racking up 13 goals.
• A Koke goal after just 22 seconds got Atlético out of the blocks quickly in Madrid, and although Sporting created chances to equalise, it was the home side who also scored the second when Antoine Griezmann raced through to double the lead on 40 minutes. No further goals followed, enabling Atlético to keep their fourth successive European clean sheet at the Estadio Metropolitano.
• Atlético and Sporting first met in the round of 16 of the inaugural 2009/10 UEFA Europa League, with the Spanish club, coached by Quique Sánchez Flores, going through on away goals after a 0-0 draw in Madrid was followed by a 2-2 draw against Carlos Carvalhal's side in Lisbon. Sergio Agüero scored twice past Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patrício to help Atlético qualify for the quarter-finals of a competition they went on to win.
• Defeated in their last six matches against Spanish clubs, Sporting boast just two wins in eight two-legged knockout ties against Liga opposition.
• The Portuguese outfit do boast a positive record at home to Spanish visitors (W6 D2 L4), but have won only one of the last six such encounters in Lisbon, losing three including 0-1 against Barcelona in this season's UEFA Champions League group stage.
• Atlético's record in Portugal is W3 D2 L4. The three victories have come in their last four visits, including a 2-1 success at Sporting's city rivals Benfica in the most recent encounter, on matchday six of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League, Saúl Ñíguez opening the scoring. Diego Godín and Gabi have also netted for Atlético on previous trips to Portugal.
• Atlético lost their first three knockout ties against Portuguese opposition but have won the last two, most recently against Vitória SC (6-0 on aggregate) in the play-offs of the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League, which they went on to win.
• Sporting hold the record for the longest sequence of home games without defeat in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final. They were unbeaten in their first 20 home matches in the competition before losing 3-1 against Lokomotiv Moskva in Lisbon on matchday one of the 2015/16 group stage. Their overall UEFA Europa League record in the Portuguese capital, including qualifying, is W19 D8 L3.
• Sporting have won only two of their last eight home games in UEFA competition (D3 L3), though they are unbeaten in their last four (W2 D2).
• The Lions, who finished runners-up in the 2004/05 UEFA Cup, losing the final in their own stadium to CSKA Moskva (1-3), are in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals for the second time. They won the first such tie, overcoming Metalist Kharkiv 3-2 on aggregate in 2011/12 (2-1 home, 1-1 away).
• This is Sporting's tenth quarter-final in UEFA competition. In all five of the previous nine that they won, they posted a victory in the home leg. The only quarter-final in which they won in Lisbon but failed to progress was against Real Sociedad in the 1982/83 European Cup, when they followed a 1-0 home win with a 0-2 defeat in San Sebastian on their first visit to Spain.
• Sporting finished third in last season's Portuguese Liga and reached the UEFA Champions League group stage with a 5-1 win away to Romanian side FCSB in the play-offs, which clinched an aggregate success by the same margin. They finished third in their section behind Barcelona and Juventus.
• Atlético are unbeaten on their European travels this season, three draws in the UEFA Champions League preceding two wins in the UEFA Europa League.
• The Madrid club are on a run of seven successive away wins in the UEFA Europa League knockout phase, during which they have scored 19 goals and conceded four. Indeed, their only loss in 11 such fixtures (W8 D2), a 2-1 defeat after extra time against Liverpool in the 2009/10 semi-final second leg, still sent them through to the final on the away goals rule. They were also victorious on neutral territory in the finals of 2010 (Hamburg) and 2012 (Bucharest).
• UEFA Europa League victors in 2010 and 2012, Atlético are making their first appearance in the competition in five years. Since then Diego Simeone's side have appeared in two UEFA Champions League finals and reached the quarter-finals and semi-finals in two other seasons.
• Successful in both of their UEFA Europa League quarter-finals, against Valencia in 2009/10 (2-2 away, 0-0 home) and Hannover in 2011/12 (2-1 home, 2-1 away), Atlético's overall record in UEFA competition quarter-final ties is W15 L5, the most recent of those victories having come against Leicester City in last season's UEFA Champions League (1-0 home, 1-1 away). They have won just four of their 20 quarter-final away legs (D8 L8).
• The Madrid club have won all five of their UEFA Europa League fixtures this term – the only club to have a perfect record in the knockout rounds.
• Atlético finished third in the Spanish Liga last season, and this is only the second time in eight attempts that they have failed to progress beyond the group stage of the UEFA Champions League. However, on the only other occasion, in 2009/10, they went on to win the UEFA Europa League.
• Sporting have lost the first leg away in 22 UEFA competition ties, recovering to win nine of them, each of the last seven after overturning one-goal deficits.
• The Portuguese club have lost four of the five ties in which they were defeated 2-0 by their hosts in the first leg, most recently by Wolfsburg in the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League round of 32 (0-0 home). The only exception was against Atalanta in the first round of the 1963/64 European Cup Winners' Cup – a competition they went on to win – when they registered a 3-1 second-leg victory in Lisbon. Sporting went on to win the replay 3-1 after extra time in neutral Barcelona.
• Atlético have won 29 of the 36 UEFA competition ties in which they have prevailed in the home first leg – including all of the last 18, most recently against Lokomotiv Moskva in this season's UEFA Europa League round of 16 (3-0 home, 5-1 away).
• When the home first leg has finished 2-0, Atlético's record is four qualifications out of four, most recently in that 2011/12 UEFA Europa League play-off against Portuguese club Vitória SC (4-0 away).
Links and trivia
• This is the only tie between two teams that have previously participated in the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals. Indeed, they are the only two clubs still in the field that have prior experience of the semi-finals.
• Atlético are the only former UEFA Europa League winners in the quarter-finals, although CSKA Moskva lifted the UEFA Cup in 2005.
• Sporting have participated in seven of the nine UEFA Europa League campaigns. Only Ajax (eight appearances) have been involved in more.
• Sporting boss Jorge Jesus coached a team in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final, for the 50th time in their round of 16 second leg at Viktoria Plzeň. Only one other coach has reached that competition milestone – three-time trophy winner Unai Emery (59 games).
• Rui Patrício has been on the field for every minute of Sporting's 13 European encounters in 2017/18. He has kept just two clean sheets.
• Atlético defenders Diego Godín and José María Giménez are Uruguay team-mates of Sporting centre-back Sebastián Coates.
• Sporting defender Jérémy Mathieu has played alongside Antoine Griezmann for France.
• Rui Patrício and William Carvalho were in the Portugal side that defeated Griezmann's France 1-0 after extra time in the UEFA EURO 2016 final. There is a statue of the goalkeeper in his home town of Leiria depicting a spectacular save he made from a Griezmann header in that Stade de France showpiece.
• Fábio Coentrão (Real Madrid), Mathieu (Valencia, Barcelona) and Cristiano Piccini (Real Betis) have all played in Spain, while Atlético's Jan Oblak (Benfica, Olhanense, Leiria, Rio Ave) and Diego Costa (Penafiel, Braga) have both represented Portuguese clubs.
• Fábio Coentrão is on loan to Sporting from Atlético's city rivals Real Madrid. In five seasons with the Merengues he faced Atlético 12 times, recording six wins (including the 2014 UEFA Champions League final), one draw and five defeats.
• Vitolo and Kevin Gameiro both played in Sevilla's victory in the 2014 UEFA Europa League final over a Benfica side coached by Jorge Jesus; Gameiro scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out after a 0-0 draw in Turin.
• Diego Costa and Filipe Luís were in the Chelsea side that defeated Sporting twice in the 2014/15 UEFA Champions League group stage (1-0 away, 3-1 home); Stefan Savić faced Sporting for Manchester City in the second leg of the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League round of 16, which City won 3-2 but were eliminated on away goals.
• Griezmann's goal in the first leg was the 500th scored by a Spanish club in the UEFA Europa League, group stage to final. This second leg is the 300th outing in the competition proper for a team from Spain. Both figures are records for a single nation.
• Sporting pair Fábio Coentrão and Bas Dost are suspended after picking up yellow cards in the first leg.
• Suspended for next match if booked: Marcos Acuña, Gelson Martins, Bruno Fernandes, Rodrigo Battaglia, Cristiano Piccini (Sporting); Ángel Correa, Saúl Ñíguez (Atlético).
• Sporting have lost both of their UEFA penalty shoot-outs:
3-5 v Dinamo Minsk, 1984/85 UEFA Cup second round
3-4 v Napoli, 1989/90 UEFA Cup first round
• Atlético's record in UEFA penalty shoot-outs is W2 L4:
6-7 v Derby, 1974/75 UEFA Cup second round
1-3 v Fiorentina, 1989/90 UEFA Cup first round
1-3 v Villarreal, 2004 UEFA Intertoto Cup final
3-2 v Leverkusen, 2014/15 UEFA Champions League round of 16
8-7 v PSV Eindhoven, 2015/16 UEFA Champions League round of 16
3-5 v Real Madrid, 2015/16 UEFA Champions League final
• Jorge Jesus was lured to Sporting from Lisbon rivals Benfica in 2015 after six seasons as head coach with the Eagles that brought ten domestic trophies, including three Liga titles, plus two runners-up berths in the UEFA Europa League – in 2012/13 to Chelsea and 2013/14 to Sevilla. His relatively discreet playing career started with Sporting in the early 1970s.
• Diego Simeone has been the Atlético coach since December 2011, and has added five trophies to the club's collection, including the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League, as well as steering the Madrid club to the UEFA Champions League finals of 2014 and 2016. The combative ex-Argentina midfielder also had two spells at Atlético as a player, winning the Spanish double in 1995/96.