Copa Del Rey aka King’s Cup is in the final stages and Barcelona is looking to enter the finals for the fourth time as they lock horns with Atletico Madrid in the second leg of the Semi-Finals at Nou Camp, their home ground.
Interestingly, Atletico Madrid has never defeated Barcelona at this venue in the last decade and the only way they can enter the Copa Del Rey finals is by scoring two goals against Barcelona, which seems impossible to many pundits. However, the last time these two teams collided in the league, Atletico Madrid gave a tough fight to the opposition by coming from the back foot after Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi registered a solitary goal each in the first half.
Antoine Griezmann gave his team a much needed comeback by scoring in the second half, bestowing a glimmer of hope to Simeone’s side but to no avail, Barcelona won that game with 2-1.
Both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are fresh with their respective wins over Athletic Bilbao and Leganes, making the upcoming clash, nothing short of a ‘Clash Between Titans’. However, Atletico’s captain, Gabi will not feature in this game due to his suspension and Diego Simeone has hinted Thomas to replace him.
Another player from Atletico Madrid who will have all the spotlight is Fernando Torres. Atletico Madrid earned their first victory after five matches, with a brace from veteran striker Fernando Torres, by winning a penalty in the 15th minute and adding another in the 51st minute, making him the Atletico’s joint-fifth top scorer in the competition.
Torres and Griezmann are looking good together and have assisted each other in several close finishes, despite their team struggling in La Liga this season due to a transition led by Diego Simeone. The coach is doing away with the team’s traditional defensive philosophy and has introduces a more attacking/intense style that Atletico Madrid has struggled to adapt.
With Neymar being ruled out due to a suspension, the attacking pair of Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi would need to reincarnate the magic from their previous collision and the latter should stay away from a yellow card, as it will force him to serve the bench in the Final, that is, if Barcelona wins.
Camp Nou is a venue unlike any other and Simeone will face a dilemma of whether to sit back and defend, while hitting Barcelona on the counter or take the game to the hosts and try to match them. Here, the former seems more appropriate!!