FOOTBALL

Barcelona vs Chelsea – Match Preview

Chelsea travel to Barcelona tonight in the Last 16 of the Champions League as they look to recreate their famous triumph in 2012 at the Nou Camp when they dumped out the The Catalans to reach the Final.

Antonio Conte’s side take a 1-1 draw to the Nou Camp with The Blues needing an away goal if they are to progress to the quarter-final.

The Blues are coming off the back of a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace to get their top four bid back on track.

If they progress, Chelsea will become the third English side to reach the quarter-finals of this seasons Champions League, with Manchester City and Liverpool having already secured their places in the last eight.

 

The Permuatations 

Lionel Messi’s late equaliser cancelled out Willian’s opener in the first leg at Stamford Bridge, meaning a 0-0 draw will see The Premier League champions bow out of the competition as The Catalans will go through on away goals.

A win for either side in 90 minutes at the Nou Camp will be good enough to progress.

A 1-1 draw is the only result which will see the tie go into extra-time, with a 2-2 or 3-3 draw sending Chelsea through on away goals.

 

Team News

Antonio Conte is unable to elect midfielder Ross Barkley or centre0back David Luiz as the pair are ruled out through injury. Other than that, Conte has a fully fit squad to select from.

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde is missing full-back Nelson Semedo and midfielder Denis Suarez through injury.

Andres Iniesta could return from a hamstring problem he has been suffering with. The midfielder will be assessed ahead of kick-off to determine his fitness.

Conte on Barcelona clash

Conte said to Chelsea’s official website: “Barcelona try to dominate the game, have a lot of possession and try to get players between the lines and go straight towards the goal. We must pay great attention, be compact and suffer,”the Italian said.

“Without the ball, you suffer. You have to defend well. When you have the ball, I repeat, we must know very well which is the way to go, to try to score and create chances, in the same way we did at Stamford Bridge.

“In the first leg we played a really good game, almost a perfect game,” said Conte. “When you play against Barcelona, a team I consider one of the best in the world, if you want to have a hope to win the game you have to play a perfect game. In the first leg, we did this and when we made a mistake, we paid a lot for it.

“The result gives a greater advantage to Barcelona but at the same time we know very well their philosophy, they want to try to play their football tomorrow, try to score and win the game. We have to try to do our best and we must have the game with great concentration to stay with our heads on the pitch in every moment of the game.”

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