exhausting games in 15 days, Ernesto Valverde prepared for this second leg by
fielding youth and fringe players against Huesca at the weekend. Gerard
Piqué and Luis Suárez were suspended, while Sergio Busquets, Lionel Messi,
Sergi Roberto and Ivan Rakitić were rested. Full-strength Barça against United?
It’s possible. Ousmane Dembélé is back, fit, and played in that Huesca match.
Game on, and time for the Spanish champions to seal passage to the semi-finals.
First leg: Man. United 0-1 Barcelona
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba;
Rakitić, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé
Out: Rafinha (knee)
Doubtful: Vermaelen (hamstring)
Misses next match if booked: Busquets, Semedo
United: De Gea; Dalot,
Lindelöf, Smalling, Young; McTominay, Fred, Pogba; Rashford, Lukaku, Martial
Out: Bailly (concussion), Herrera (thigh), Shaw (suspended), Valencia
Misses next match if booked: Herrera, Matić, Valencia, Young
Sergio Busquets v Paul Pogba: United have to score and they signed Paul Pogba for just these situations – however, Busquets helped keep him quiet in the first leg and has plenty of experience finishing off these ties against the best of oppositions.
After their winner
at Old Trafford, Barcelona have now benefited from a joint-record 14 own goals
in the UEFA Champions League.
Paul Pogba’s two
penalties against West Ham took him to seven spot kicks for the Premier League
season, one off Ruud van Nistelrooy’s club record from 2002/03.
Valverde, Barcelona coach
“There’s no fear,
just huge excitement. We’re all aware that we have a very tough game ahead of
us if we want to reach the semi-finals.
“We’re aware of
Manchester United’s strengths. We know we can’t let it become a game with
chance after chance; we have to close off any space. If they get space to run
into, they’re good. “Obviously we’ll try to stop them scoring and score
ourselves. Our priority is to score, not to go out thinking we have an
Gunnar Solskjær, Man. United manager
“The 1999 final is
a fantastic memory. The last time I was on the pitch here was the only time. I
don’t look back on that night too often; I’m just looking forward to seeing if
we can play better against Barcelona. We are now 1-0 down at half-time, but if
it is a game with many goals in it we stand a bigger chance.
“If we keep a clean
sheet, we’re in the tie. We know we can score goals from set pieces –
we’re bigger than them – but we have to defend well. I don’t mind if the
goal comes in the 93rd minute. We have to be fitter and keep going.”
Graham Hunter, UEFA.com