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Atletico Madrid with Injury Worries for Home Champions League Debut
    2008-09-30 21:00:10     Xinhua

Atletico Madrid coach Javier Aguirre has several injury problems as he sets about preparing his team for their home debut in the Champions League.

Atletico entertains Olympic Marseilles in the Vicente Calderon stadium on Wednesday night. But Aguirre is missing several key players and has others doubtful with physical problems.

Winger Simao and striker Diego Forlan are both out for certain. Simao has a twisted ankle, while Forlan has a torn muscle. Central defender Pablo Ibanez is a major doubt with a muscle injury and right back Setaridis is struggling with a similar problem which forced him out of Sunday's home defeat to Sevilla.

Aguirre will be hoping the striker Luis Garcia, who didn't train with the Atletico squad on Monday morning, will be able to shake off a back injury and midfielder Maniche is also in a race against time after hurting his back against Getafe a week ago.

That means Aguirre will probably have to call up some young players from Atletico's B-team. Ruben Perez, Cesar Ortiz and Ruben Ramos have the best chance of making the squad.

Meanwhile striker Sinama Pongolle is especially looking forward to Wednesday's game.

The French-born player has scored four times in La Liga for Atletico since joining from Recreativo Huelva in the summer, and is looking to find the net again against his fellow countrymen.

"Olympic Marseilles reminds me of my roots, of the place where I was born," he told the Atletico Madrid website on Tuesday.

"They are one of the biggest teams in France and they are the only French team to have won the Champions League. It is a team with a lot of experience and they play with a lot of rhythm. They don't let you think on the ball and we have to be able to control that if we want to win," he said.

However, Sinama admitted that the game he was really looking forward to is Atletico's visit to Anfield to play Liverpool in two weeks time.

The striker spent three years as a youngster with Liverpool before moving to Spain and is keen to show how much he has progressed as a player since then.

"I am an Atletico player now and I am happy to be able to defend our colors, when I step out on Anfield, I will remember a lot of things about my first moments as a footballer," he concluded.

 
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