Sat, 22 Jan 2022

RIYADH, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The second semifinal of the Spanish Copa del Rey will be played between La Liga winners, Atletico Madrid and Copa del Rey runners up, Athletic Club Bilbao in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh on Thursday with the winner meeting whoever triumphs in Wednesday's 'Clasico' between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Atletico Madrid travel without the injured Stefan Savic and Antoine Griezmann, with Savic's absence important for a side that has lacked its usual defensive solidity in this season.

Meanwhile, last week's sale of Kieran Trippier to Newcastle United has limited Simeone's options on the right of defense.

The Atletico squad that traveled to Riyadh on Tuesday contains six members of the Atletico B-team squad, goalkeeper Christian Gomez, defender Joan Rojas, midfielders Alberto Moreno and Javi Serrano and the forwards Giuliano Simeone (the coach's son) and Carlos Martin.

Simeone is likely to play with three central defenders and use Yannick Carrasco and Marcos Llorente as wing-backs, while Joao Felix and Angel Correa - who scored from the halfway line in Atletico's 2-2 draw with Villarreal at the weekend, will start in attack, with Luis Suarez on the bench.

Athletic Club travel to Saudi Arabia as defending Champions of the Supercup after defeating both Real Madrid and FC Barcelona on their way to last season's title.

They are without key midfielder Unai Vencedor with a hamstring injury and coach Marcelino Garcia Toral will have to decide whether Mikel Vesga or Oier Zarraga partners Dani Garcia in central midfield.

Meanwhile left back Yuri Berchiche returns to the squad following a summer operation on a groin injury after making his last appearance in April, although neither he nor striker Asier Villalibre, who has suffered several hamstring injuries this season are likely to start, with Inaki Williams and Oihan Sancet likely to lead the Athletic Club line on Thursday.

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