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Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Rodriguez: Atletico progress still possible

Dermot Corrigan. Spain Correspondent

Atletico Madrid winger Cebolla Rodriguez says his team believe they can defy the odds to turn around a two-goal deficit in Thursday's Europa League last-32 trip to Rubin Kazan.

• Simeone takes Europa loss blame

Atletico coach Diego Simeone's risky decision to send goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo forward for a corner at 1-0 down late in last week's home leg at the Vicente Calderon backfired, as Rubin's Pablo Orbaiz scored on the break into an open goal to put his side 2-0 up and in firm control of the tie.

With other challenges to come in La Liga and the Copa del Rey, Simeone has left six first-teamers out of his travelling squad for the game [Felipe Luiz, Juanfran, Diego Godin, Koke, Arda Turan and Gabi], although top scorer Radamel Falcao has made the trip as the team's only other centre-forward Diego Costa is suspended.

Atletico's technical staff have also packed 700 kilograms of special kit to help the players cope with the expected sub-zero temperatures during the game at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadion.

Nevertheless Uruguay international Cebolla, 27, says that as Europa League holders Atletico must give everything in the game, and he is hopeful they can turn things around and progress to the next round.

"We know it will be a very tough game," he said. "We had a very bad result at home in the first leg, but we have worked very hard in the week since, we know how this game will be, and I hope we can get a good result.

"Atleti are highly respected for what we have achieved recently. We are the holders and we must show that there, and give our all. We are going there to do the impossible and win."

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