The second leg of the Spanish Supercopa is here, with Barcelona hosting Atletico Madrid in what promises to be an exciting and intense match.
The first leg ended in a draw. David Villa scored for the home side with a brilliant strike while Neymar came into the game in the second half and opened his Barcelona account with the equaliser.
It was a strong showing from Atletico and they managed to frustrate Barcelona for much of the game. But, as they always seem to do, Barcelona managed to salvage a draw.
Barca now only need only to keep a clean sheet at home to win this year's Supercopa. Let's break this contest down.
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
When: Wednesday, August 28 at 4:55 p.m. ET (9:55 p.m. BST)
Watch: ESPN Deportes (United States); Sky Sports 4 (UK)
What They're Saying
Lionel Messi and Neymar may get all the headlines, but Cesc Fabregas reminded everyone after a tight victory over Malaga that Barcelona aren't a two-player team.
Mark Doyle of Goal.com reported Fabregas as saying:
The team does not depend on Messi and Neymar. We’re all important. We all have responsibilities in the team. We really had a hard time in the final minutes of the match, but we have to be able to get through the hard times.
We’re starting a new season, with lots of new things, we have to keep on improving. We had a good first half, but it’s true that in the second we lost a bit of intensity. We’re still feeling the Super Cup match [against Atletico Madrid in midweek], and it was noticeable, so this was a very, very important victory.
We could have scored more goals, we had the chances to do so, but we didn’t score and we suffered in the final minutes.
Barcelona Player to Watch: Lionel Messi
Messi's health into the lead-up for this game has been one of the primary storylines, as he didn't play over the weekend against Malaga and only returned to training on Monday. His injury—"a bruise to the femoral biceps tendon in his left thigh," according to the team's website—never seemed particularly serious.
Still, Barcelona take a conservative approach with their star early in this season and leave him on the bench. If he plays he will be the one to watch, but just as intriguing will be if he isn't in the starting lineup. He will then potentially be utilized to provide a second-half spark if Barca fall behind at home.
Atletico Madrid Player to Watch: Diego Costa
Villa may have notched the golazo in the first leg of the Supercopa, but it has been Diego Costa who has hit the ground running this season, scoring three goals in three games.
The dangerous forward was eyed up by Liverpool in the offseason, but with Radamel Falcao off to Monaco, it was important for Atletico to hold on to Costa, and it has shown thus far this season.
Atletico's first aim in this match is simple—score a goal. A scoreless draw won't help them. If they are to find the net, it will likely be down to Costa.
Barcelona Wins If...
Quite simply, they keep a clean sheet.
They do what they almost always do at home—win.
They don't let Atletico have much joy on the counter-attack, like Malaga almost did on several occasions over the weekend.
Atletico Madrid Wins If...
They stifle Barcelona like they did in the first half of the first leg, pressing the ball at every opportunity and not allowing playmakers like Xavi and Andres Iniesta space in which to create.
Villa has another cracker against his former team.
Keeper Thibaut Courtois is the man of the match.
As well as Atletico Madrid played in the first leg, it's never wise to bet against Barcelona at home, especially when a fit Messi is available again. This match will again be competitive, but the Catalans will earn the Supercopa victory.
Barcelona wins, 1-0 (and 2-1 on aggregate).
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