It will be a classic Copa showdown in the Vicente Calderon tonight as the Copa runners-up take on the defending Liga Champions in the return leg of the Copa del Rey Quarter-final fixture.
The first leg ended with a victory for the Blaugranes courtesy of a late Messi goal which came off a poorly saved spot kick by Oblak. But Luis Enrique is highly cautious and won’t let complacency creep within his side due to the slender lead with which they enter the match tonight. Atletico managed to sweep past two goals against a highly energetic Madrid side in their last Copa game at the Calderon.
Barcelona can be no exception. Torres who started off against the Catalans in the last game is likely to start again and the much loved local hero will be looking to make the most out of every opportunity to shine tonight in front of the home fans. If Simeone opts to keep Torres on the bench he will field the deadly duo of Greizmann and Mandzukic upfront.
Barcelona are witnessing a tremendous run of form as they are on a six game winning streak and have finished their last four games on a clean sheet. Inspired by their talisman Lionel Messi who has scored twice against Atletico this year on two separate occasions already, the Catalans will not settle behind tonight just to defend the entire game.
Barcelona are in positive spirit after the 6-0 thrashing of Elche in Liga and so are Simeone’s men who thrashed Rayo Vallecano 3-1 powered by two goals from the in-form Frenchman Antoine Greizmann. The Atletico side is going to step on the field with intent for sure. “We’ll give our all” said the striker.
The Los Rojiblancos are highly optimistic towards this game and will leave no stone unturned in order to chase the one goal deficit which they are facing. The Capital club has a reason to worry as their key defender Godin is out of the match due to suspension.
Barcelona were runners-up in the Copa last season and this year they are backed by the club chairman to lay their hands on the coveted trophy after inching a step closer to the Copa by beating Atletico tonight.
Return legs in knockout competitions are always exciting especially when a team like Atletico is trailing by a goal. Barcelona no doubt will have a tough time against the red and whites in the Calderon. Only time will tell whether the persistence of Enrique’s men pays off against a determined Atletico side which is ever-eager to avenge the two defeats it has already faced against the Catalan club at the Camp Nou this year.
Enrique must be aware that despite of the first leg win, this fixture still has everything to play for and a side like Atletico can never be taken for granted.
MATCH DATE: 28th January, 2015
VENUE: Vicente de Calderon
Atletico de Madrid:
Oblak; Juanfran, Miranda, Gimenez, Siqueira; Suarez, Gabi, Koke; Mandzukic, Turan, Griezmann
Ter Stegen; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Iniesta, Busquets, Rakitic; Neymar, Suarez, Messi
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 0 : Barcelona 1