Barcelona aims to avoid relaxation
The two-time winner only needs a draw from the return leg at Camp Nou to progress to the quarterfinals following its 3-2 victory in the first leg in Glasgow, Scotland two weeks ago.sports Updated: Mar 03, 2008 18:37 IST
FC Barcelona will try to guard against complacency when it hosts Celtic in the Champions League's second round on Tuesday.
The two-time winner only needs a draw from the return leg at Camp Nou to progress to the quarterfinals following its 3-2 victory in the first leg in Glasgow, Scotland two weeks ago. "We have to be really centered because it's a really important match. We're in a good position but we have to avoid being too confident," Barcelona midfielder Edmilson said.
Barcelona will also want to atone for its 4-2 defeat at Atletico Madrid on Saturday, the team's first loss in 16 games in all competitions which struck a blow to its Spanish title hopes. Coach Frank Rijkaard is expected to recall forward Lionel Messi, who scored two goals in Glasgow but started Saturday's match on the bench due to a minor injury.
Messi's return would likely mean that either Ronaldinho, who scored a spectacular goal against Atletico, Thierry Henry or Samuel Eto'o is relegated to the substitute's bench. The team's so-called "Fantastic Four" has yet to be fielded in the same lineup. Midfielders Deco and Yaya Toure should also be back. However, defensive midfielder Rafael Marquez, who hasn't played since being injured during the first leg, is doubtful.
Victory would maintain Barcelona's perfect home record in the Champions League this season _ with Celtic's crosstown rival Rangers being one of its victims in the group stage.
Celtic have lost 15 of their 16 away matches in the Champions League, drawing the other _ in Barcelona in 2004. Celtic midfielder Aiden McGeady said his side faced "one of the best teams in the world."
"Getting through would be one of the best results in the club's history, considering the opposition we are up against and the caliber of player we are facing. Barcelona don't have one or two world class players, they have six or seven so to get through would be unbelievable," McGeady said.
Celtic coach Gordon Strachan will decide whether to partner Scott McDonald in attack with either Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink or Georgios Samaras, who is on loan from Manchester City. Vennegoor of Hesselink, who scored in the first leg, played for 70 minutes in Saturday's win over Hibernian _ the team's ninth in a row in the Scottish league _ after missing the two previous games with a hamstring injury.
Celtic is expected to be followed to Barcelona by some 20,000 supporters _ although only 5,000 have tickets for the match.