Atletico Madrid and Napoli, last season’s third-placed sides from La Liga and Serie A, are on their marks for the first semi final of the 2017 Audi Cup on Tuesday. Though it would be a friendly clash, one can expect a blast out of it.
Atletico, though could not register new players this summer due to the ban, they kept hold of both their stars, forward Antoine Griezmann and manager Diego Simeone. With their presence intact, Atletico remain one of the toughest units in Europe. Napoli, meanwhile, have also kept hold of their most impressive players from the last term, and having strengthened their squad, there is a feeling that they could improve on their third-placed finish.
The sides are evenly matched for the game on a neutral turf. Well, Atletico might have an upper edge, considering their past records for having one of the best defense, Napoli’s strong midfield will be difficult to invade and the kind of attacking game they have played, they can turn around any situation into their favour.
Atletico have only played one match so far in pre-season, a 0-0 draw in Mexico against local side Toluca in which Simeone fielded the first choice starting XI. Napoli, for their part, have played four preparatory matches, three of them against lower league Italian opposition, with the most recent game a 1-1 draw against Serie A side Chievo.
Atletico’s last five pre-season friendlies have all seen less than three goals scored, and the side from the Spanish capital can generally be relied upon to keep things tight even when facing decent opposition. Napoli, of course, are a side renowned for their attacking capability and last season were the top scorers in the Italian top flight.
As both the teams lock horns this Tuesday in the first semi final of 2017 Audi Cup, they are expected to set the pace for rest of the three games. With almost equal strengths, fans can expect livewire on the field. In India, football fanatics can watch the live action from Allianz Arena starting tonight at 09:00 PM only on DSport!