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Barca have edge over Chelsea

Chelsea needed a two-goal win over visiting Barca last year, and got it. This year, they need a similar result, but will have to score their goals on the road.

india Updated: Aug 10, 2009 13:38 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press

Chelsea needed a two-goal win over visiting FC Barcelona last year — and got it.

This year, the English champions need a similar result but will have to score their goals on the road.

Barcelona hosts Chelsea on Tuesday in the second leg of the second round of the Champions League. The Catalan team won the first match 2-1 two weeks ago — just like last year.

"We can't be overconfident," Barcelona striker Lionel Messi said.

"It happened to us when we were leading 2-1 in last year's match. Chelsea has players who can score two goals at any moment and we have to realize we have achieved nothing yet.

"But we're in good form and really determined to advance." Last year, Chelsea won the second leg 4-2 to advance 5-4 on aggregate.

On Tuesday, Chelsea will be without the suspended Michael Essien and Asier del Horno — who was sent off in the first leg on Feb 22 — and could be missing midfielder Frank Lampard.

Also Tuesday, Werder Bremen travel to Italian champion Juventus with a 3-2 lead, and Villarreal hosts Rangers after a 2-2 draw in Glasgow.

On Wednesday, defending champion Liverpool travel to Benfica trailing 1-0, AC Milan hosts Bayern Munich after a 1-1 draw, Arsenal host Real Madrid with a 1-0 lead and Lyon have a 1-0 advantage when they hosts PSV Eindhoven.

The anticipation ahead of the Barcelona-Chelsea match prompted FIFA president Sepp Blatter to ask the match to take place "in a fair-play manner."

Messi was accused of acting by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho after being tackled by Del Horno, who was sent off for the challenge.

Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole, who set up one goal and scored the other in England's 2-1 friendly win over Uruguay on Wednesday, said a victory in Spain would be "one of the great Chelsea wins."

"We've got the best squad to do it," said Cole, who also scored for 10-man Chelsea in their 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

"We've been unfortunate in the three games we've played against Barcelona to end up playing with 10 men on two occasions. The luck hasn't been with us but we still beat them last year, so we can do it this year as well."

Lampard missed the England and West Brom matches with a hamstring problem.

Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard rested Messi in the club's 3-2 win over Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday, but has no other injury worries. Messi is set to play Tuesday.

Liverpool, who beat Chelsea in the semifinals last year, is hoping to make another run to the title.

"There's no doubt we are a better team than we were last season when we won the European Cup, so let's just say that we aren't about to give up our trophy easily," Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said.

"We might be a goal down from the first leg but the mood at Anfield is that we still have both hands on the trophy." Arsenal upset Real Madrid 1-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium two weeks ago and warmed up for Wednesday's match at Highbury with a 4-0 win at Fulham in the English Premier League.

Madrid beat crosstown rival Atletico Madrid 2-1 Saturday in the Spanish league, only days after president Florentino Perez resigned. Madrid midfielder and England captain David Beckham will play in England for the first time after three years in Spain.

"We have to keep Beckham quiet and close him down and not allow him to serve other players, but we have so many to keep quiet we need a whole team performance," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "I think it will be wrong just to defend. We have to try to win the game."

AC Milan will be without injured captain Paolo Maldini and goalkeeper Dida when it hosts Bayern Munich. Maldini has a tendon injury, while Dida missed Milan's 3-1 win over Empoli on Saturday with an ankle problem.

"The 1-1 from the first leg is a good result, but we must think we are starting from zero," said Milan striker Andriy Shevchenko, who scored Saturday. "We must not think that Bayern can be an easy opponent."

Bayern is coming off its first loss at its new stadium. The Bundesliga leaders lost 2-1 to Hamburg on Saturday. "Maybe this defeat will make us aggressive and lead us to such a reaction that we can produce a great game in Milan," Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said.

Bayern could be without defender Bixente Lizarazu, who has a thigh strain, and striker Paolo Guerrero, who has a cold. Inter Milan hosts Ajax on March 14 because of a scheduling clash with AC Milan. The two teams drew 2-2 in the first leg.

First Published: Mar 06, 2006 14:36 IST