'It's Paco's time to step up' – Cillessen backs Alcacer to replace suspended Suarez

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The striker saw red against Atletico Madrid but the Dutch keeper thinks the Uruguayan's understudy can temporarily fill the void

Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen has backed Paco Alcacer to step up in the Copa del Rey final as Luis Suarez's red card means he is suspended for the clash.

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The Blaugrana narrowly progressed past a strong Atletico Madrid side in the semi final, edging their opponents out on away goals following a heated second-leg affair at Camp Nou.

The return fixture against Atleti yielded plenty of action, most notably the third of three red cards being dubiously handed to Luis Suarez after a mild brush with Koke.

And with the Uruguayan set to watch from the stands, Cillessen has faith that under-fire striker Alcacer can rise to the occasion.

“It's terrible for them,” the keeper said, reserving sympathy for Sergi Roberto, who also saw red. 

“As a team we have to win it for them. [Suarez] wasn't happy. He's a great striker and it's nice to have him in the team.

“[But] Paco scored in our last match and that was very important for us, so now it's his turn to step up and I think he's going to do it.”

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Cillessen himself was a rare stand-out performer for the Catalans as he produced a string of saves to keep Antoine Griezmann and Co. at bay, leading to reporters asking whether it was his best performance in a Barca shirt.

“I think so,” he said, “ but I preferred the game against Gladbach where I had nothing to do. When I don't have anything to do it's much better!”

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