Lionel Messi has been in sublime form for Barcelona going into the second leg at Vicente Calderon. (Source: AP)
Holders Barcelona have a fourth consecutive Copa del Rey final in sight when Atletico Madrid visit the Camp Nou on Tuesday with the daunting task over overturning a 2-1 semi-final, first leg deficit.
Stunning solo goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi put Barca well in command of the tie before half-time at the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday.
And both are well-rested for the return as Suarez sat out Saturday’s 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao, whilst Messi took a rare break for the final 25 minutes after netting his 31st goal of the season.
“It is important to realise that to reach our three objectives we need the whole squad,” said Barca boss Luis Enrique with his side going for a second treble of league, Cup and Champions League in three years.
One key member of the Barca squad will be missing for Atletico’s visit, though, as Neymar is suspended. Messi will also have to be careful as a yellow card would rule him out of the final should Barca advance. The hosts are also likely to also be without Gerard Pique and Rafinha. Pique came off at half-time after picking up a groin strain, whilst Rafinha broke his nose in a collision with Barca ‘keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen at the weekend.
However, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets are close to returning from hamstring and ankle injuries respectively.
Atletico were a team transformed in the second-half of the first leg as they roared back into the tie after the introduction of Fernando Torres at the break. Antoine Griezmann halved the arrears, whilst Torres and Kevin Gameiro all came close to levelling near the end.
Torres’s impact continued as he scored his first La Liga goals since September with a double in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Leganes. “We know the game on Tuesday will be extremely difficult, but it is in the hard games where our pride comes out and we hope to experience one of those magic nights on Tuesday,” said the former Liverpool and Chelsea striker.
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