Giants set to tango for European glory
Real Madrid hope to upset Spanish champions Barcelona as Mourinho sets his sight on a third European trophy. Match box | Match pointerssports Updated: Apr 27, 2011 01:15 IST
Jose Mourinho is ready to haunt Barcelona in the Champions League semifinals again on Wednesday, this time with Real Madrid.
The Portuguese coach has always managed to rile Barca, guiding Inter Milan to victory against them in the semis last year en route to European glory.
He's outwitted them in the 'four-match series' so far. A 1-1 league draw, when Real came back to level with 10 men on April 16, was followed by last Wednesday's 1-0 extra-time victory in the King's Cup final, Mourinho's first trophy as coach of the Madrid side.The league title is all but wrapped up for Barcelona but the prospect of a 10th European Cup triumph lies ahead for Real, and a third for Mourinho all with different teams.
Breaking coach Pep Guardiola's record of five consecutive 'Clasico' wins and then winning the King's Cup has dented Barca's 'invincible' aura.
Madrid have packed the centre of the pitch with three holding players led by centre-back turned midfield-enforcer Pepe, ruthlessly denying Barca's playmakers time and space. Sami Khedira's injury means Lassana Diarra will be making a start.
At the back Ricardo Carvalho is suspended but Real's defensive problems are not as acute as Barca's who will be missing Eric Abidal, Adriano Correia and Maxwell.
The returning Carles Puyol could be asked to fill in at left back while midfielder Javier Mascherano could play in defence once again.