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December 11, 2013 9:45 PM SAST
Camp Nou — Barcelona
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Barcelona - Celtic Preview: Hosts need a point to top group

The Scottish champions face Tata Martino's men with only pride left to play for with the Spanish champions needing only a draw to finish ahead of AC Milan at the top of the table

By Jack Davies

Barcelona's Neymar.
Getty
Barcelona host Celtic in the Champions League on Wednesday knowing a point would see them crowned Group H winners.

The Spanish champions - who have already qualified for the round of 16 - currently sit two points clear of AC Milan at the top of the pool, although the Italians would move to the summit if they beat Ajax and Barca lose to Neil Lennon's side.

Celtic can no longer qualify for the knockout stages, and the four points that separate them from third-placed Ajax mean their hopes of reaching the Europa League have also disappeared.

And Barca head coach Gerardo Martino will be confident of claiming the necessary draw, with Barca having triumphed 2-1 over Celtic when the sides met at Camp Nou last season.

They also emerged victorious from the reverse fixture earlier in this year's competition, when Cesc Fabregas netted the only goal in a match that saw Scott Brown sent off for the hosts.

Barcelona are yet to drop a point at home in this season's Champions League, while Celtic have lost both of their away fixtures.

However, the Catalans' 20-game unbeaten start to the season in all competitions came to an end in their last European game at Ajax, and they have since lost their first domestic fixture of the campaign against Athletic Bilbao.

Celtic may have nothing to play for continentally, but are unbeaten in 17 Scottish Premiership fixtures and sit seven points clear of closest rivals Inverness at the top of the table.

Goalkeeper Fraser Forster will not welcome the sight of Barca's Alexis Sanchez, who put two goals past the 25-year-old on his England debut against Chile last month.

Speaking of Celtic's three matches against Barcelona over the past two seasons, manager Neil Lennon stressed that he wanted to see his players maintain their high standards.

"We have played very well against them over the three games," he said. "I am just hoping we can continue that and it doesn’t just fade away in the last game."

Lionel Messi (hamstring) and Victor Valdes (calf) are set to miss out for Barcelona, while Daniel Alves (calf) has not played since the 4-1 Liga win at Real Betis on November 10.

Celtic, meanwhile, will be without Beram Kayal (foot), Adam Matthews (collarbone) and Steven Mouyokolo (Achilles), but will welcome Brown and Nir Biton back from suspension. Emilio Izaguirre, however, is set to serve a one-match ban.


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Available Squads
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
2MontoyaDefender
3PiquéDefender
21AdrianoDefender
6XaviMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
24Sergi RobertoMidfielder
7PedroStriker
9Alexis SánchezStriker
11NeymarStriker
25OierGoalkeeper
5Carles PuyolDefender
18Jordi AlbaDefender
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
20TelloStriker
-J. DongouStriker
1Fraser ForsterGoalkeeper
2Adam MatthewsDefender
15E. AmbroseDefender
-Virgil van DijkDefender
2M. LustigDefender
-Nir BitonStriker
8Scott BrownMidfielder
28Joe LedleyMidfielder
9Georgios SamarasStriker
21Derk BoerrigterStriker
20Teemu PukkiStriker
24Lukasz ZaluskaGoalkeeper
21Charles MulgrewDefender
-Darnell FisherDefender
15Kris CommonsMidfielder
10Anthony StokesStriker
-Amido BaldéStriker
-Bahrudin AtajićStriker
Results
Group A Matchday 6
Times In SAST
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real
14 1
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10 1
Lionel Messi Lionel Messi
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8 2
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7 0
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
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6 2