Madrid, April 8: Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona will continue their duel this season when they face each other in the return leg of their Champions League quarter-final in Atletico’s Vicente Calderon Stadium Wednesday night.
The game looks certain to be another war of attrition just as the other four matches between the two teams this campaign, reports Xinhua.
So far, those four games have produced two 0-0 draws and two 1-1 draws and with tired legs starting to take effect, there is little reason to believe Wednesday should be anything different.
Atletico take a slight advantage into the return leg thanks to the away goal scored by Diego Ribas in the Camp Nou a week ago.
Diego’s thunderbolt means a 0-0 draw would see Atletico through on away goals, but with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Andres Iniesta in the Barca lineup, Atletico cannot rely on keeping a clean sheet.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone will hope to have striker Diego Costa fit again after the Brazilian born Spain international was forced off after 30 minutes of the first leg with a muscle injury.
Costa’s presence would allow Atletico to continue with their tactics of working hard to close down Barca and then use him as an outlet for a long pass from the back and his power will be an undoubted factor, especially as Barca defender, Gerard Pique is sidelined with a fissure in his pelvis, which he too sustained last week.
Arda Turan will not recover from a muscle injury and could make way for either Raul Garcia or Diego to start in his place.
Barca coach, Tata Martino knows that even more than the recent win away to Real Madrid, Wednesday could be the defining moment in his season at the club.
He rested Cesc Fabregas and Neymar at the weekend and both will start, while Marc Bartra will again replace Pique and Jose Pinto remains in goal for the injured Victor Valdes.
Martino’s side have struggled to produce consistent good performances this season, but have shown an ability to lift themselves for the big matches, with so little to choose between the two teams so far this season, a semifinal place will be decided on small details and perhaps one moment of magic.