Get out your lucky Sevilla charms; this is going to be a big mother.
The rivalry with Atleti has been a mystery to me. I’ve always assumed it was born out of our status as aspiring clubs that never often caught the big fish, but it turns out it has its roots way back in 1936 when the teams faced off in a life-or-death relegation battle on the final week of the season. Sevilla sent the Colchoneros down and narrowly escaped their own fateful decent by the skin of their missed-penalty-deep-into-the-match teeth. Ever since then, says this AS article, it’s been a hateful affair. It got bad enough last year that, in some extreme sections of El Calderón, chants mocking Antonio Puerta were heard. As in our previous visit to El Calderón, the club has informed the referee that any chants of that nature will be taken as cause to stop the match. If any Atleti fan would like to let us know, I’m sure Sevilla’s ultras has been just as vile given the occasion.
On to the match:
Sevilla is ascending in form with Unai Emery at the helm and fresh off multi-goal wins over Zaragoza and Granada in which our attack has shown more bite and creativity than they have all season (by this viewer’s account). Mr. Negredo has recovered a portion of his once Mighty Mojo, Cicinho is out of the dog house and rampaging with Navas now that the owner of said dog house has been asked to leave, and Reyes, former black dwarf, seems to be rewriting all we thought we knew about astrophysics and star death/decay.
Atleti, on the other hand, are either experiencing a slight blip or a true dip in form. Following a 6-3-1 ten-match stretch, a tie and a 3-0 loss are signs of strain…by which I mean Radamel’s hammy strain, obviously. Let’s face it: Atleti’s been playing lights out this season, and it’s not been all Falcao. He’s just the bejeweled crown. It seems Atleti will also be without Juanfran as well, so there’s hope that our backline will not crumble pitifully.
With the return leg in mind, I’d expect a ferocious Atleti and a tempered Sevilla for at least the first 20 or so minutes. If we can hold on and grow into the match, we have a good chance of getting a result heading back home. We’ve mentioned it in the comment sections, but I’ve yet to hear a clear word on how or how not we could potentially qualify for Europe depending on the outcome of this tie. If we make it to the final we know that Sevilla would qualify because the winner of %*#$*/@*$#& will qualify for CL. What we’re waiting to see is, if all three semifinalists besides us qualify for CL, will that let Sevilla in the door even if we fall in the semis?
1. Rakitic scores and pulls an Atleti flag out of his oddly bulging shorts, then procedes to floss with it.
2. Del Nido and Enrique Cerezo have a 1 on 1 competition at half time.
3. Ujfalusi is caught by TV cameras in the stands spilling a drink of some kind on himself, is red carded by a security guard and escorted away sobbing.
4. Sevilla win!!!!