Assuncao certain Atletico will qualify

Atletico Madrid midfielder Paulo Assuncao is confident his side can put their poor start to the season behind them and return from tonight's Champions League tie against his former club Porto with all three points.

Atletico made the trip to Portugal under increasing pressure after taking just three points from their opening five league matches, which has left the team in the bottom three.

The Rojiblancos have not had much reason for cheer in Europe either, and they were booed off by their own fans after being held to a goalless draw by minnows Apoel Nicosia in their opening Group D game. That was a potentially costly setback for Atletico, especially considering the other team in their group are Chelsea, but Assuncao does not feel that result has jeopardised their chances of progressing to the knockout stages.

Instead, he believes they will get back on track against the Portuguese champions tomorrow.

"Porto have a good team and it won't be easy to beat them, although we also have a great squad and I think we can defeat them and come back to Madrid with the three points," said Assuncao, who played for Porto in the 2000/01 season and then again from 2005-08 before making the switch to Atletico.

"Not getting through to the next round isn't something that we are thinking about. I'm sure we'll get past the group stage."

Abel Resino's men go into the match having had contrasting experiences in their last two league matches, both of which finished in 2-2 draws.

Last week, they were denied a first win of the campaign by a last-minute Almeria equaliser, and then on Sunday they were saved from defeat by an injury-time leveller of their own against Valencia.

"We're going to fight just as hard [against Porto] as we did in the Valencia match. We're really looking forward to trying to get the win," added Assuncao.

Atletico already know from bitter recent experience just how hard it is to win at the Estadio do Dragao, though.

In last season's competition Atletico travelled to Portugal needing to score at least once to have a chance of progressing to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, after being held 2-2 at home by Porto.

However, they were unable to find the breakthrough in a goalless draw and Porto, having dominated the first leg and been unlucky not to record a convincing victory at the Vicente Calderon, deservedly went through to the last eight.

Porto could get no further, though, as they were knocked out by the defending champions, Manchester United.

This season Jesualdo Ferreira's side suffered a losing start to their group campaign against another English side, going down 1-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

They have had a much better time of it domestically than their opponents tonight, though, winning four of their opening six games, including a 1-0 triumph over Sporting Lisbon at the weekend.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'