Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Champions League

Cesc Fabregas © Reuters Images

'Russian obstacles no excuse for Barca'



An artificial pitch, freezing conditions in Moscow and a wily coach who knows them all too well are some of the obstacles that stand between Group G leaders Barcelona and qualification to the last 16 on Tuesday, live on SS HD1 and SS3 from 6:55pm (CAT, GMT +2).

The La Liga leaders take on Spartak still smarting form a shock 2-1 defeat at Celtic last time round, and have flown to Russia with all their big guns to make sure of a point that would assure their passage into the last 16.

"The artificial pitch and the cold will not be a problem or an excuse," Barca's Spain midfielder Cesc Fabregas told a news conference on Monday.

"Teams in the Champions League are always dangerous, and in Russia it is always tough. It will be a difficult match but we aren't thinking we'll qualify if we get a point. We want to win.

"We always play the same way and we will have to adapt to whatever they throw at us."

Barca have nine points from four games, two ahead of Celtic in second place. Benfica have four and Spartak are bottom with three points.

"Russian teams are now spending a lot of money and recruiting good players from around the world, and they have done a lot of good work on youth development, " Barca coach Tito Vilanova said.

"They have good players and coaches and the weather is different too. However, for now the weather conditions are good and we have played in cold conditions recently.

"If you want to win the Champions League you have to be able to beat anyone."

Spartak's Spanish boss Unai Emery is well known to Barca from his work with Almeria and Valencia in La Liga over the last few years.

Although he has a poor record against Barca, with no wins from 14 attempts, he has often run them very close with some clever tactical changes.

"We know Emery very well and he has always caused us problems," Vilanova added. "His teams are always very organised in attack and defence. There could be some surprises."

Barca have defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique back fit again, but travelled without full back Marc Bartra who damaged a muscle in training on Sunday.



Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk



Neil Tovey
The measure of Mashamaite
I attended the Kaizer Chiefs Awards and witnessed Tefu Mashamaite hand over his Player of the...

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Who will challenge Chelsea?
Gary Neville has said the challenge for next season will be to how to stop Chelsea.

Carol Radull
I want more for Arsenal
Arsenal and Aston Villa are the only English Premier League clubs whose season haven’t ended.

Sunday Oliseh
Soccer stars, spend wisely on family
Emmanuel Adebayor has been very vocal lately in condemning his family of ingratitude.

Segun Odegbami
Three headaches for Juventus
An estimated 400 million audience around the world are glued to their television sets. I am sitting...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Ref assault should be condemned by all
The assault on a referee in Saudi Arabia recently should be condemned by all.