The knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League fixtures are tonight and a lot of entertainment is expected as we should see some feisty encounters coming into this one.
Atletico Madrid come into this tie against Barcelona on the back of a 2-1 loss, but knowing that they have crucial away goal in hand that will help them in their progression to the semi-finals. Atletico just need to win this game 1-0 in order for them to seal the tie and progress to the next round. They will have to do it without their first leg Hero/Villain Fernando Torres, who scored and then got booked twice and sent off to leave them 10 man short, which Barcelona exploited then. Atletico returned back to winning ways with a crushing victory on the weekend, that will build the teams confidence coming into this encounter against Barcelona. Diego Simeone has not won any of his 7 matches in charge of Atletico against Luis Enrique, and scoring that early goal might be the way to get into this side. Barcelona do not have a great defensive record, conceding regularly including losing 1-0 on the weekend, so Madrid might feel that the firepower of Carrasco, Vietto and Greizmann might be enough to help them score a goal.
It’s not often you see a Barcelona team held out in a La Liga game, but they were absolutely shut out against Sociedad by a score of 1-0 on the weekend. Barcelona defense will be shocked by their poor showing, and confidence might hit them in another away fixture. Luis Suarez will look to come back into the team after being suspended for the weekend encounter, and after netting last week, he should have the confidence to get back into the game. Barcelona know their job is pretty simple, get 1 goal, and then Atletico have to score 3 goals to progress, which will leave them vulnerable on the counter attack to concede. Messi, Neymar, Rakitic, Iniesta will all definitely start aiming to break the dead lock early in this encounter. With Ter Stegen in goal, he generally tends to concede in almost every game that he starts, and I expect no differently in this encounter tonight.
This is a high profile encounter between the top 2 teams in Spain at this time, and I expect it to be a good technical game with both teams scoring, as it has been in all 3 games played between the sides this year, which have all landed 2-1 to Barcelona.