Will Barcelona do it again?
Giants looking to battle back against Juve
Game of the night on Wednesday goes at the Camp Nou where two pillars of football play to a finish in the second-leg of their Champions League quarter final. Juventus jet into Spain with a three-goal cushion tucked away in their luggage, more than enough to see off most opponents at this level. But this is Barca, and they’re certainly not most opponents.
Looking lame and ready to be put out of their misery, you’d expect punters to come flooding in on Coral’s 19/4 about another Juventus win, but it has not happened. Barcelona can never be written off with any real confidence, and judging by their heroics in the last round, a three-goal lead won’t be anywhere near enough.
They overturned four against PSG
Luis Enrique’s side created a little bit of Champions League history in the round of 16, when overturning a four-goal margin to knock French cracks PSG out of the competition on a nail-biting night at this venue last month. Trailing 4-0 from the initial encounter, they battled back to win 6-1 on their own patch, and sneak through 6-5 on aggregate.
Suarez opened the scoring with just three-minutes on the clock, and that set the pace for what lay ahead. A Cavani reply on the hour-mark looked to have finished a rampant Barca off, but they were not to be denied, with Sergi scoring a wonder strike deep into stoppage-time at the end of the match to send his employers through.
That would’ve taken it out of everyone in the home dressing room, both emotionally and physically, but they now have to do it all again. The locals to qualify is as big as 9/2 with Coral, and that looks just about right.
Home form suggests they can do it
Scoring goals at home in this competition has never been a problem in the past, and this season’s Champions League outings at the Camp Nou show they have already rattled in 21 goals, conceding just one. That run includes a 6-1, 7-0 and pair of 4-0 wins. PSG remain the only side to bulge the net here, and that came very much against the run of play.
Barca can be backed to win to nil at 9/4, value when you consider they have been chalked up as 4/7 red-hot favs to claim the match, regardless of if they qualify or not. That seems to be the general feeling here, with odds compilers agreeing that the home win looks likely, but it won’t be enough to grant them semi-final football.
Juve take heart from previous visits
It’s accepted that Juventus, a side who wiped the floor with Barca just a week ago, and are nailed down 1/8 to qualify, will be happy enough to defend their lead and keep any defeat to within three goals. They have much more self-respect than that, and the head-to-head stats prove it.
Of the previous 10 matches between Barca and Juve, the latter have won five and lost three, with a couple of draws. They won 2-1 on their last trip to the Camp Nou, back in 2003, and have won half of their four away days vs Barcelona. Mere opponents – not on that form.