MADRID - Pep Guardiola faces a delicate
balancing act away to Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, making sure
to guard against unpleasant surprises while a double-header
against Real Madrid looms on the horizon.
Barca hold a comfortable 5-1 quarter-final, first-leg
advantage that has them on the brink of the last four of the
Champions League, but their coach is desperate to avoid any
sense of relaxation among his players.
The Ukrainians caused Barca plenty of problems in the
opening minutes at the Nou Camp last week when the pace of their
forwards clearly unsettled the hosts' defence.
"Although we are defending a good result it will be
tremendously difficult," striker Pedro told a news conference on
"There are 90 minutes and anything can happen. They have a
great team. In the King's Cup we saw what happened against Real
Betis (Barca won 5-0 at home and then lost 3-1 away).
"We won't change our style. We'll go there to attack and to
Maintaining their winning momentum will be important because
on their return they face a potential La Liga title decider away
to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu on Saturday.
Guardiola described this clash as "a unique opportunity to
strike a decisive blow," after his side came back to beat lowly
Almeria 3-1 at home on Saturday.
They top the standings by eight points with seven games left
REAL IN SEMIS
Four days after the 'clasico', they face Real Madrid again
in the King's Cup final, and assuming Jose Mourinho's men suffer
no slip ups away to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, the Spanish
giants are likely to meet again in the Champions League semis.
Barca travel without the injured Carles Puyol, Eric Abidal
and Bojan Krkic while Andres Iniesta is suspended.
Shakhtar suffered their first defeat at the new Dondass
Arena on Saturday, when they fell 1-0 to FC Obolon.
Matters were made worse by a thigh injury to Croatian
defender and team captain Dario Srna, who has been ruled out for
two weeks, which leaves coach Mircea Lucescu with problems at
Srna joins Olexandr Kucher and former Barca defender Dmytro
Chygrynskiy on the injury list while Razvan Rat is suspended.
Lucescu may have to turn to the inexperienced Serhiy
Kryvtsov to play in the centre of defence with Mykola Ishchenko,
Vyacheslav Shevchuk or Vasyl Kobin, who are all short of match
Shakhtar Donetsk: 30-Andriy Pyatov; 32-Mykola Ishchenko,
38-Serhiy Kryvtsov, 44-Yaroslav Rakitskiy, 13-Vyacheslav
Shevchuk; 3-Tomas Hubschman; 20-Douglas Costa, 8-Jadson,
10-Willian; 22-Henrik Mkhitaryan, 9-Luiz Adriano
Barcelona: 1-Victor Valdes; 2-Daniel Alves, 3-Gerard Pique,
16-Sergio Busquets, 21-Adriano Correia; 14-Javier Mascherano,
6-Xavi, 15-Seydou Keita; 17-Pedro, 10-Lionel Messi, 7-David
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