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UEFA Champions League

  • November 20, 2012
  • • 17:00
  • • Olimpiyskiy stadion Luzhniki, Moskva
  • Referee: I. Bebek
  • • Attendance: 67325

Spartak Moscow - Barcelona Preview: Injury-hit hosts face tall order against Catalan giants

Spartak Moscow - Barcelona Preview: Injury-hit hosts face tall order against Catalan giants

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The Russians' coach Unai Emery, who has not got the greatest record against the Blaugrana, will have his work cut out here with a number key players missing for their crucial game



Makeev, Bryzgalov, Suchy, Kombarov
Rafael, Kallstrom
Jurado, Ari, Gorbatenko

Alves, Puyol, Pique, Alba
Fabregas, Iniesta, Xavi
Pedro, Messi, Villa

Spartak Moscow have an injury crisis ahead of their crunch match with Group G table-toppers Barcelona.

The Russians have a goalkeeping dilemma, with third-choice Artem Rebrov now also ruled out having suffered an injury in Unai Emery's men's 1-1 draw with Volga at the weekend. He now joins Andriy Dikan and Sergei Pesyakov on the sidelines.

Also missing for the hosts is strikers Artem Dzyuba and Welliton while skipper Sergei Parshivlyuk, Russia international Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Brazil midfielder Romulo and Republic of Ireland winger Aiden McGeady are unavailable.

Argentine defender Nicolas Pareja is suspended for the bottom of the table side who need a good result here to have any chance of reaching the knockout stages.

Meanwhile, Tito Vilanova will be looking for a response from his Barcelona team after falling to a shock 2-1 defeat to Celtic on Matchday 4.

The Catalans welcomed back Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol at the weekend where the Blaugrana disposed of Zaragoza 3-1 and it would be surprising if the pair did not start in the Russian capital.

One defender who is definitely ruled out is 21-year-old Marc Bartra, while attacker Alexis Sanchez is missing for up to four weeks after returning from international duty with Chile injured.

  • Spartak Moscow coach Unai Emery has the unenviable record against Barcelona having not won in his last 14 attempts versus the visitors.
  • The hosts 2-1 victory over Benfica on Matchday 4 was just their second win in 16 attempts at home in the Group stages.
  • The hosts' record in the last 12 home games against Spanish opposition reads W3 D6 L3.
  • Barcelona's Lionel Messi (pictured, right) is now just seven behind Gerd Muller's record of most goals in a calender year, having scored a double against Zaragoza at the weekend which takes his tally to 78.
  • The Argentina international is the fourth top goalscorer in Champions League history behind Andriy Shevchenko Ruud van Nistelrooy and Raul.
  • The Catalan giants with their win on Saturday equalled Real Madrid's 1991-92 record of 34 points from a possible 36 in La Liga - the best ever start to a Primera Division campaign.

Players to watch

E. Emenike

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Having just recovered from injury, the onus is on the Nigerian to display the kind of predatory instincts which got him his goal against Celtic earlier on in the competition. But, up against a back-to-full strength Barcelona defence, it certainly will not be easy.

L. Messi

Position: Attacker

Games: 2

  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
What more can be said about this incredible talent who is now only seven off Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in one calendar year. Lightning quick, and always seem to be half-a-yard ahead of his opponents, the Argentina international may well fancy his chances to cut the Germany legend's lead further on Tuesday against a depleted Spartak side.

Editor's Prediction

This would be a difficult game for the Russians with a full-strength side but with an injury-ravaged squad and the dilemma of who to put in goal against the free-scoring Catalans, it will be an almost impossible mission. Expect plenty of goals here with Tito Vilanova's men still not assured of progression to the knock-out stages.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Spartak Moskva



Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

FK Spartak Moskva SPM
FK Spartak Moskva Spartak Moskva
FC Barcelona FCB
FC Barcelona Barcelona

Top 3 Predictions

FK Spartak Moskva SPM
1 - 3
FC Barcelona FCB
FK Spartak Moskva SPM
0 - 3
FC Barcelona FCB
FK Spartak Moskva SPM
1 - 4
FC Barcelona FCB