Here we go again, the return leg of the Shakhtar Donetsk vs. FC Barcelona tie. After being on the wrong side of a 5-1 thrashing, the Ukrainian side will most likely want to make amends with their fans.
Although the final result of the previous game suggests a fairly one-sided affair, it was anything but. Shakhtar Donetsk was guilty of wasting a whole lot of chances against the Catalans, and chances come at a premium especially against FC Barcelona.
Overturning a four-goal deficit is not impossible, stranger things have happened, but highly unlikely. But in 90-plus minutes of football anything can happen. The Ukrainians have yet to lose in Donbass Arena but it is Shakhtar that has to chase the game, not the Blaugrana. During Pep Guardiola’s reign, FC Barcelona has never lost by more than a two-goal margin, let alone four.
After ending his (mini)drought of five scoreless games, Lionel Messi is back to his scoring ways. In last Saturday’s La Liga encounter against UD Almeria, La Pulga managed to score a brace and equal his and the original Ronaldo’s record of 47 goals in one season just in time for the upcoming Clasico. With at least nine more games to go, it is almost certain that Lionel Messi will set a new benchmark. At 23 years of age – a frightening prospect.
Meanwhile, Shakhtar Donetsk is almost depleted of its regular defense. Among the casualties, club captain Darijo Srna. One can only guess how Mircea Lucescu will set up his team to accomplish the impossible mission. Who knows, perhaps he has Ethan Hunt’s (from the Mission: Impossible franchise) number on speed dial.
Join me for the live coverage of the Shakhtar Donetsk vs. FC Barcelona game.