Barcelona look to progress as Copa del Rey quarterfinals stay finely balanced prior to second legs
Madrid, Jan 27 (IANS) Atletico Madrid have to overturn a one-goal deficit at home against FC Barcelona on Wednesday night as both sides look to book their places in the semi-finals of the Spanish King's Cup.
With Real Madrid apparently unstoppable in the La Liga, the Cup perhaps offers the best chance for domestic honours for both sides and after ousting their neighbours out in the last round, Atletico will look to repeat that by leaving Barcelona by the wayside, reports Xinhua.
To do that they need to come back from a goal down after a Lionel Messi penalty separated the pair at the Camp Nou a week ago.
That 1-0 win was the just the second time Barcelona had beaten Atletico in seven meetings, but came hot on the heels of a dominant 3-1 Barcelona victory in the same ground a matter of days earlier.
The fact Atletico didn't score an away goal in the first leg means their traditionally tight defense will have to be especially wary of Barcelona's front trio of Luis Suarez, Messi and Neymar, who have connected well in recent games and helped the Catalans cruise to a 6-0 win in Elche on Saturday night.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone loves his side to keep things tight in defense and hit rivals on the break, but it is Barcelona who hold the cards at the Vicente Calderon Stadium here, although they will have to keep a close eye on Fernando Torres, who looks rejuvenated after returning 'home', and Antoine Griezmann, who has been in fine form of late.
The winner of the tie will have to wait until Thursday before discovering their rival, which comes from the clash between Getafe and Villarreal with the latter taking a 1-0 first leg lead a week ago.
Sevilla need to come back from a 1-3 first leg defeat away to Espanyol and Unai Emery's men also have to recover from the shock of a defeat by the same score in Valencia at the weekend.
Finally, the last semi-final place will be decided between Athletic Club Bilbao and Malaga. The first leg ended 0-0 in Malaga and coincidence dictated the pair met in Bilbao Sunday afternoon with that game finishing 1-1, a result which should it be repeated Thursday, would qualify Malaga on away goals.