Quarter-final: Second leg
First leg: Benfica 0-0 Barcelona
Goals, or a lack of them, is the principal concern for Frank Rijkaard tonight as he looks to lead his Barcelona team into the semi-finals.
Honours were even in the first leg in a goalless draw Lisbon a week ago, but Rijkaard may be concerned about the number of chances that were spurned by his forwards that night.
“We are still making plenty of openings and it is a case of continuing to work hard, maintaining the same spirit and just going for it,” he said. “I am not worried.”
We have to accept that this is happening at the moment, but you have to realise that the team is still playing well.”
Patience could be the key according to Rijkaard.
“We have 90 minutes and we will play as we always do,” he added.
“We are not going to change our style and will start the game as we do every game, looking for an early goal. It is unusual that we have not scored recently, but the strikers, in fact every player, has confidence. We just have to continue creating chances and the goals will come.”
Benfica coach Ronald Koeman sees no reason why his team cannot emulate the performance they produced against Liverpool in the last round. Simao and Fabrizio Miccoli scored in a 2-0 away win, despite the English club being billed as favourites to progress.
“We scored twice at Liverpool, who do not concede many goals, so why can’t we do the same against Barcelona at Camp Nou?” he said. “
We have to make the most of our opportunities and we want to cause an upset, but realistically we know it will be a very difficult game. We are playing one of the favourites, though we have a chance.”
Carles Puyol returns to the Barça defence after missing the first leg through suspension. However Rijkaard is without Xavi, Lionel Messi, Rafael Marquez and Thiago Motta, while Edmílson and Sylvinho had to pass fitness tests.
Koeman is set to make just one change from his first-leg lineup. Laurent Robert will drop to the bench Bruno Miccoli operating as the main striker, with Geovanni moving to the left of a three-man attack.
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