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May 8, 2016 at 4pm UK
Levante
2-1
AtleticoAtletico Madrid
Casadesus (30'), Rossi (90')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Torres (2')
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Preview: Levante vs. Atletico Madrid

:Headline: Preview: Levante vs. Atletico Madrid: ID:272111: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between already-relegated Levante and title challengers Atletico Madrid.

Basement side Levante meet title hopefuls Atletico Madrid in Valencia this weekend in the penultimate round of La Liga fixtures.

The hosts have already been relegated from Spain's top flight, but Atletico are in desperate need of the points as they chase down leaders Barcelona.


Levante

Monday night's 3-1 defeat at Malaga saw Levante relegated from La Liga for the first time since the 2007-08 season. They have nothing more than pride to play for in their final two matches, but will be keen to put on a strong performance in their final home game of the season.

Seven wins, eight draws and 21 defeats have brought Levante 29 points, which has seen them stuck at the bottom of the table. They are six points from 19th-placed Getafe and will play Segunda Division football next season regardless of what happens this weekend and away to Rayo Vallecano on May 15.

Under normal circumstances, Levante would have still been in with a shout at this stage of the season. However, with Getafe and Sporting Gijon clashing on Sunday and one or both guaranteed to take at least a point, Levante are certain to finish in the bottom three.

A 2-1 victory over Espanyol on April 15 gave the Valencia-based club hope of pulling off an escape act, but they then lost at Granada and drew with Athletic Bilbao, before their fate was sealed away to Malaga last time out.

Only Real Betis (31) have scored fewer than Levante's 34 league goals this season and only two teams (Espanyol and Rayo Vallecano) have conceded more than their defensive record of 66 goals.

That said, Levante have only actually lost two of their last nine league games on home soil and those two defeats came against Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Recent form: DLWLDL


Atletico

Atletico will enter this match off the back of a 2-1 defeat at Bayern Munich on Wednesday night, but that score was still enough to send them into their second Champions League final in three seasons.

Diego Simeone's side managed to negotiate two tough legs against Bayern to advance to the final of the European Cup once again and they will take on capital rivals Real Madrid in a repeat of the 2014 final on May 28 in Milan.

Their focus will have to switch to La Liga matters this weekend, however, as they bid to stay in touch with Barcelona entering the final round of fixtures. In fact, Barcelona can secure the title with a win this weekend if Atletico lose at Levante and Real Madrid fail to secure all the points at home to Valencia.

In the middle of March, Atletico were 11 points off the summit, but they have won their last six league matches – without conceding in their last four – to put themselves in the hunt entering the final two rounds of fixtures.

As it stands, Atletico are level on 85 points with league leaders Barcelona, but they trail the Catalan outfit on the head-to-head record and need Luis Enrique's side to slip up in one of their final two league fixtures.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, are just one point behind in third and it is all set up for a pulsating conclusion to the season. Atletico must take care of themselves this weekend and hope for a favour from Espanyol.

Each of Atletico's last three league matches have brought 1-0 wins and their position in the table is remarkable when considering that they have scored 45 fewer goals than Real Madrid and 44 fewer than Barcelona.

It has been another defensive masterclass, however, with Atletico only shipping 16 goals in their 36 league matches. They have 27 league victories this season and they will hope that 29 sees them overcome Barcelona and enter the Champions League final with the chance of a double.

Recent form: WWWWWW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWWL


Team News

Levante boss Rubi is expected to recall Deyverson and Victor Camarasa to his starting selection after the pair missed out on the XI against Malaga last time out.

Lucas Orban and Simao Junior could also come into the team, but the goal-scoring onus will once again fall on Giuseppe Rossi, who has scored five goals in his 16 league appearances for the basement side.

As for Atletico, experienced midfielder Tiago has been given the green light to return after missing more than five months with a fractured tibia.

The Portuguese should return to the Atletico squad this weekend, but Simeone, who will serve the second game of his three-match suspension, is not expected to make too many changes from Wednesday night.

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco is pushing for a return, however, and could replace Augusto Fernandez in a 4-3-3 formation for the visitors.

Levante possible starting lineup:
Marino; Lopez, Orban, Feddal, Juanfran; Camarasa, Verza, Mari, Morales; Rossi, Deyverson

Atletico possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Juanfran, Gimenez, Godin, Luis; Koke, Gabi, Saul; Carrasco, Torres, Griezmann


Head To Head

Levante have not lost any of their last five league games against Atletico on home soil – recording three wins in the process.

Last season, the two teams played out a 2-2 draw in this stadium, while Levante beat Atletico 2-0 during the 2013-14 season.

Despite that impressive record, Atletico have only actually lost one of their last seven league games against Levante and recorded a 1-0 victory when the pair met at the Vicente Calderon earlier this season.


We say: Levante 0-2 Atletico

Levante will be able to play with freedom after already learning their fate, but it is difficult to imagine them preventing Atletico from collecting three much-needed points this weekend. We fully expect Atletico to keep a clean sheet and keep Barcelona honest on the final weekend of the season.


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last updated article - 2016-05-07 08:41:48:
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