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Primera División

  • August 25, 2014
  • • 4:00 PM
  • • Estadio del Rayo Vallecano (de Vallecas Teresa Rivero), Madrid
  • Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
  • • Attendance: 11070

La Liga Preview: Rayo Vallecano - Atletico Madrid

The Rojiblancos will still be buzzing after their Supercopa de Espana triumph against Real Madrid, but Diego Simeone will be concerned by the three-day turnaround.

Fresh from its Supercopa de Espana victory, Atletico Madrid should feel confident of kicking off its league title defense with a win against Rayo Vallecano.

The champion makes the short trip across the Spanish capital Monday to open its Primera Division campaign, with coach Diego Simeone having insisted in the build up that his team faces a huge task to repeat the feats of 2013-14.

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Atletico won La Liga on the final day of last season, finishing three points ahead of Barcelona and Real and in the process breaking the duopoly that had dominated the Spanish top flight since Valencia's title success in 2004.

The Rojiblancos go into their season opener brimming with confidence following their 2-1 aggregate win over bitter rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa, but the Argentine is playing down expectations.

"Barcelona, even in a bad season for them, almost won the league," he pointed out. "And Madrid as well. If they had beaten Valencia [in their 35th game of the season] they would have been top.

"It is very difficult to compete across so many fixtures. But we are competitive over 90 minutes."

Atletico's recent history against Monday's hosts suggests it should at least be expected to start with a win. Although it lost 2-1 at Vallecas in February 2013, that is its only defeat to Rayo since 1999.

Simeone's men also have netted nine times in their last two meetings with their Madrid neighbors, but Rayo's offseason transfer dealings at least give it a reason for optimism.

Coach Paco Jemez has brought in Gael Kakuta, Javier Aquino, Jonathan Pereira, Leo Baptistao, Lica and Abdoulaye Ba all on loan, while the free transfers of Jozabed and Alejandro Pozuelo add depth to his creative midfield.

Jemez also will take encouragement from the fact that he only has one certain absentee for the clash, as defender Antonio Amaya - a new arrival from relegated Real Betis - is expected to be out until mid-October with a tear in his thigh.

It remains to be seen, though, whether Baptistao will play - with both Atletico and Rayo staying silent on any potential clauses over facing his permanent employers in his loan deal from the champion.

Simeone has a few selection issues to contend with, as Raul Garcia is suspended and Arda Turan (hamstring) could miss out, but the majority of his squad is available.

The former Argentina international may not be present on the bench, however, after he was sent off during the Supercopa win - with reports suggesting that he could be set for a ban.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Rayo Vallecano

Atlético Madrid


Betting & Predictions

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