Sevilla v Atletico Madrid preview
Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke says their Primera Division visit to Sevilla will be like a cup final.
Last Updated: 02/03/12 6:20pm
Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke says their Primera Division visit to Sevilla will be like a cup final as the sides look to keep themselves firmly in the hunt for Champions League qualification.
Atletico currently sit ninth in standings, one place ahead of their hosts this weekend, but both clubs are just three points off fourth-place Levante in a congested mid-table.
That is despite the Rojiblancos picking up just three points from their last four games, but Koke says that run needs to end at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
He told the Atletico website: "We are still in a good position although we have only managed three points in recent games, but it all comes down to winning against Sevilla, which for us is a final.
"It is true that we have not won against our rivals for a top-four spot but what better way to do that than at the home of Sevilla, our direct rivals? It will be very important for us to win this game.
"It will be a tough game and it is always difficult to win in Seville. We will go all out to try to get the three points."
Atletico boss Diego Simeone will again be without playmaker Diego due to a muscle injury but winger Salvio could start after returning from an ankle injury as a substitute in last weekend's defeat to Barcelona.
Diego Perotti will be missing for Sevilla but defender Federico Fazio should return after being unavailable for the clash with Valencia.
Sevilla will also be without star striker Alvaro Negredo due to an injury that forced him out of Spain's midweek friendly win over Venezuela and could keep him sidelined for a month.
Senegalese striker Baba Diawara, a January signing from Maritimo, is an option to replace leading scorer Negredo in the starting line-up but Sevilla coach Michel was giving little away.
"I can't say if it will be Baba, if he is going to start or come on later, but he will play. He's a young kid and his adaptation takes time, but he's progressing all the time, and he's the player who has scored the most goals in training," Michel said.
Best bet: Sevilla to win to nil - 23/10