Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Barcelona, Chelsea Vie for Final Champions League Quarterfinal Berth

Barcelona, Chelsea Vie for Final Champions League Quarterfinal Berth

Willian hit the bar twice before scoring his goal in the first leg, and Conte will be hoping for improved efficiency from the Brazilian forward in the second leg on Wednesday.

Barcelona will hand a late fitness test to Andres Iniesta, who is nursing a hamstring injury, before the Nou Camp showdown against Chelsea.

According the reports in the Mirror, Antonio Conte looks set to ditch the flash nine formation that worked well in the first leg - a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge - in favour of playing with a traditional number nine.

Chelsea felt they should have had a penalty in the second half when Marco Alonso was brought down in the box, only for the referee to wave away their appeals.

Antonio Conte's men sat deep as they hosted Messi and co, but were unlucky on various occasions.

"But when we made a mistake, we paid for it".

"We could have played on for three hours, and I wouldn't touch a ball".

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"But Chelsea happened to cross our path many times and I have many strong memories of meeting them".

"We know there are moments to suffer for every team against Barcelona, we must be prepared to suffer, to be compact".

Hazard, who won the Ligue 1 and Coupe de France double in 2011 with Lille, joined Chelsea after their 2012 Champions League triumph, winning the Europa League the following season.

However, Messi is apparently hopeful that Barca will try and lure the 26-year-old back to the Camp Nou in the coming months, but that is looking unlikely as club president Josep Maria Bartomeu does not want to see Neymar return. "In this type of game it's right to face the best players and you don't hope they will miss out with injury". With a degree of freedom afforded to him on the left-hand side, Premier League sides have struggled to contain him, giving rise to 11 goals and three assists in the English top division.

Conte says he is aware that his players will be pushed to their limits: "We know very well the philosophy of Barcelona".

His superiority in La Liga is made all the more impressive by the evident strength of the division, which has produced the victor of the Champions League on six occasions since 2009 and the victor of the UEFA Europa League five times since 2010. This means they go into the second leg with a significant disadvantage.

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