Atalanta – Valencia
It’s always fun when teams from Italy and Spain face each other in the Champions League knockout stage. This will be the case on Wednesday, too, when Atalanta will host Valencia at the Stadio San Siro. This is a first leg in the 1/8-finals tie between these two sides. Let’s talk about it.
For Atalanta it was a heroic achievement to qualify for the 1/8-finals of the competition. Not because they are not a quality team, but because they lost all of their first three games in the group stage. In the next three matches they managed to win 7 points, which was enough for them to progress and reach the knockout phase of the Champions League for a first time in their history.
Atalanta do not have the money, nor the stars of clubs like Juventus, Inter Milan or Roma, but what they have is a very capable team, builded through the years by the experienced manager Gian Piero Gasperini. For La Dea this is a historic first participation in the Champions League and winning one of the first two places in the group was a huge achievement. But how far Atalanta can go in the tournament now?
Valencia qualified for the 1/8-finals of the Champions League after a decisive performance in their last game in the group phase. Los Che were considered underdogs against Ajax on Dutch soil, but a winning goal from Rodrigo in Amsterdam was enough for Valencia to grab their ticket for the knockout stage. It was one of the club’s best European nights in recent history.
We expect an incredibly competitive game between Atalanta and Valencia on Wednesday. We believe that these two teams have a similar quality at the moment. What the Spanish team have more than its opponent is the European experience. Sometimes it’s a crucial thing, so let’s see how this first game will go.