Who Wins Today Barcelona v Athletico Madrid


Atletico Madrid must win at the Nou Camp for the first time in 11 years if they are to reach the Copa del Rey final at the expense Barcelona.

Diego Simeone believes only a high-intensity performance will see Atletico overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit in Tuesday’s semi-final and eliminate the current holders.

Atletico are aiming for their first King’s Cup final appearance since their triumph in 2012/13, when they beat city-rivals Real at the Bernabeu.

“The only result that would satisfy me is to reach the final,” Simeone told his pre-match press conference.

“We need to play with the same high intensity we have shown at certain times of the season.”

Atletico found themselves on the back foot in last week’s first leg at the Vicente Calderon after goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.

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However, a strong second-half display and an Antoine Griezmann strike gave Simeone’s men a glimmer of hope ahead of the return.

The task in front of Simeone’s men is daunting, though. Having not won at the home to Spanish champions since February 2006, Atletico need to win by two goals to progress.

“The reality is that we are facing a very strong team when playing at home,” Simeone added. “The best in the world, probably.

“They will be ready for our high pressing and prepared to hit us on the counter-attack.”

Barca brushed Athletic Bilbao aside on Saturday despite resting six players ahead of Tuesday’s game against Atletico.

“The way they have prepared for the game by resting six players at the weekend, I expect the best Barca,” the Atleti boss said.

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Atletico will be without suspended captain Gabi for the trip to the Nou Camp, with Ghana international Thomas tipped to deputise in midfield.

“Gabi is the heart of the team,” Simeone said. “We hope we can overcome his absence. Thomas is an option to consider.”

Atletico veteran forward Fernando Torres, whose two goals earned Atletico their last win at Barca, could get his second-consecutive start on Tuesday.

Torres scored both goals in Saturday’s 2-0 home triumph over Leganes which kept Atletico in fourth place in La Liga on 39 points.

Luis Enrique has shrugged off the pressure of sealing Barcelona’s fourth-straight appearance in the Copa del Rey final.

“My players are experts in big games,” he said. “The Copa del Rey is a very good competition for Barca and we are excited to reach the final once again.”

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Luis Enrique will be without the suspended Neymar for the game, with either Arda Turan or Denis Suarez set to replace the Brazil striker.

Gerard Pique will be back available despite being replaced midway through the win over Bilbao, while Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta could also push to start after shrugging off recent injuries.

But Luis Enrique warned: “They (Atletico) need to win and score at least twice, so we may see an Atletico who take more risks. We need the crowd and their support will be vital.”

Source: skysports.com


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