Tough draw for Barcelona


NYON. — Holders Barcelona and their feared attacking trident drew fellow Spaniards and 2014 finalists Atletico Madrid in the Champions League soccer last eight yesterday.

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, Barcelona’s feared attacking trio, will seek revenge for their 2-1 aggregate quarter-finals exit at the hands of Diego Simeone’s formidable charges two seasons ago.

“With Atletico Madrid everything is complicated,” said Barcelona representative Javier Bordas, who was in Nyon for the draw. Their strengths are well known. They are water-tight at the back and can hurt you in attack,” he said of the side who have shipped just three goals in the competition so far.

“They are our number one rival in the Spanish league, I don’t believe there was a tougher side we could have drawn. We know this is going to be really tough.”

Atletico eliminated Barca 2-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals on their way to the 2014 Champions League final. That season Atletico went unbeaten in six games against Barca, but since then the Catalans have won all six meetings between the sides.

But while Atletico coach Diego Simeone was unflinching he heaped praise on his rivals, and if he was worried he was not showing it.

“I have said before, they work more on set-pieces, they have more counter-attacks, Neymar has been there longer, the presence of Suarez, they are a different team with more options,” he said.

In another tantalising pair up new money outfits Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain face off after Swedish giant Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s side toppled Chelsea in the last round. It is a first ever quarter-finals for City.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi was confident his side, fresh from wrapping up a fourth straight French Ligue 1 title in record time, can get to their first Champions League semi-final in two decades.

Having overcome Juventus in a dramatic come back in midweek five-time European champions Bayern Munich will have been relieved to have drawn Portugal’s Benfica.

Champions League quarter-final draw

Wolfsburg (GER) v Real Madrid (ESP)

Bayern Munich (GER) v Benfica (POR)

Barcelona (ESP) v Atletico Madrid (ESP)

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) v Manchester City (ENG)

Europa Cup quarter-final draw

Braga v Shakhtar Donetsk

Villarreal v Sparta Prague

Athletic Bilbao v Sevilla

Borussia Dortmund v Liverpool. – AFP.


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