What: UEFA Champions League Quarter-final (second leg)
Who: Shakhtar Donetsk (1) vs Barcelona (5)
When: Tuesday 12th April, 2011, at 19:45 UK time
Where: Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine

Out for Pride

Their Champions League fate might be all but sealed, but Shakhtar Donetsk will be out to salvage some of their lost pride having suffered a heavy 5-1 defeat at the hands of Barcelona last week at the Camp Nou, erasing any realistic chance of the Ukrainians progressing to the next round. With Barcelona boasting a lamentable away record in the Champions League, now would be the perfect time for Shakhtar to extract their revenge.

The team’s unbeaten home streak came to an end as they suffered a shock defeat to Obolon in the Ukrainian Premier League at the weekend. Whether the defeat at the Camp Nou has left some psychological scars remains to be seen, but the setback will make no difference to the title race, with Shakhtar holding an 11-point lead.

Turning their attention to the upcoming Champions League tie, club captain Darijo Srna confessed that the result is out of their hands, citing that his team will mostly play for pride. “We play for the honour of our club, the city and the fans. I am sure that players, who will come on the pitch, will give their all in order to beat Barca", said Shakhtar’s captain.

Clasicos in Sight

Barring extraordinary miracles, Barcelona and Real Madrid will meet each other four times in the upcoming month. Having virtually settled the tie on home soil during the first leg, the Blaugrana will now face Los Merengues on two occasions in the Champions League semi-final – providing Real Madrid do not collapse against Tottenham Hotspur. This will come after meeting Jose Mourinho’s men twice next Saturday and the following Wednesday in the Copa del Rey final. However, Josep Guardiola’s side will have to travel to Ukraine before battling Los Blancos.

It should not be forgotten that Guardiola singled out Shakhtar as the team he wanted to avoid prior to this round’s draw. The visiting side gave Barcelona a tough time at the Camp Nou – particularly in the first half – and could have managed to score a precious goal or two, but Barcelona ran riot and virtually guaranteed their qualification. Having done that, the coach will probably want to rest some of his key players before the imminent Clasico.

Pedro though has warned his team-mates not to believe the unthinkable could not happen. "It’s 90 minutes, anything can happen, as they have a very strong team, with fast players like Douglas Costa and Luiz Adriano", warned the forward.


Recent form

Shakhtar Donetsk:
Illychivets 1-3 Shakhtar Donetsk (01/04; Premier League)
Barcelona 5-1 Shakhtar Donetsk (06/04; Champions League)
Shakhtar 0-1 Obolon (09/04; Premier League)

Villarreal 0-1 Barcelona (02/04; La Liga)
Barcelona 5-1 Shakhtar Donetsk (06/04; Champions League)
Barcelona 3-1 Almeria (09/04; La Liga)

Key absences

Shakhtar Donetsk:
Dmytro Chygrynskiy (doubt)

Barcelona: Eric Abidal; Carles Puyol; Bojan; Andres Iniesta (suspended)

Players to watch

Shakhtar Donetsk – Luiz Adriano: The Brazilian was a constant thorn in Barcelona’s side at the Camp Nou, giving Victor Valdes a hard time and exposing the shaky partnership of Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets. Expect him to do the same in the more familiar surroundings of the Donbass Arena.

Barcelona – Lionel Messi: Barcelona will not relish a night which could hit minus temperatures in the Ukraine, and will therefore place an extra onus on their superstars to perform. Scoring a brace at the weekend against Almeria, Messi will undoubtedly want to improve his form as he prepares himself for Real Madrid.

Match Prediction

Barcelona are red hot favourites to progress given their thrashing of Shakhtar in the first leg. Indeed, it would take nothing short of a miracle – 4-0 at the very least to be precise – for Shakhtar to qualify. Josep Guardiola will rest some of his key men for this encounter though, giving Shakhtar the chance of an honourable, yet futile home win.

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