CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Barcelona host Chelsea
London, March 6:
Chelsea needed a two-goal win over visiting FC Barcelona last year — and got it. This year, the English champions need a similar result but will have to score their goals on the road. Barcelona host Chelsea on Tuesday in the second leg of the second round of the Champions League. The Catalan team won the first match 2-1 two weeks ago — just like last year.
“We can’t be overconfident,” Barcelona striker Lionel Messi said. “It happened to us when we were leading 2-1 in last year’s match. Chelsea has players who can score two goals at any moment and we have to realise we have achieved nothing yet.” Last year, Chelsea won the second leg 4-2 to advance 5-4 on aggregate. On Tuesday, Chelsea will be without the suspended Michael Essien and Asier del Horno — who was sent off in the first leg on February 22 — and could be missing midfielder Frank Lampard, who missed last two matches with a hamstring problem.
Also on Tuesday, Werder Bremen travel to Italian champions Juventus with a 3-2 lead, and Villarreal host Rangers after a 2-2 draw in Glasgow.
On Wednesday, defending champions Liverpool travel to Benfica trailing 1-0, AC Milan host Bayern Munich after a 1-1 draw, Arsenal host Real Madrid with a 1-0 lead and Lyon have a 1-0 advantage when they host PSV Eindhoven.
The anticipation ahead of the Barca-Blues match prompted FIFA president Sepp Blatter to ask the match to take place “in a fair-play manner.” Messi was accused of acting by Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho after being tackled by Del Horno, who was sent off for the challenge.
Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard rested Messi in the club’s 3-2 win over Deportivo but has no other injury worries. Messi is set to play on Tuesday.