Almost a week after the El clasico in Madrid, Barçelona is still the centre of the world’s footballing focus, and this Thursday they make their debut in the Club World Cup championship, in a semi-final against Al-Sadd. Pep Guardiola’s men will be hoping to avoid a shock defeat to the Qatar club in their attempt to reach the final on Sunday, with Santos a possible opponent who beated Kashiwa yesterday with 3-1.(video)
Guardiola : We’ve worked hard to play in Japan and we want the title’
Al Sadd coach Fossati have a plan for Barcelona :
“I have a plan for victory! If they approve my request that on the ground we able to have 15 or 16 players, I think we have some chances against Barcelona, “joked coach of Asian football champions Al Sadd, Uruguayan Jorge Fossati.
“Barcelona is the biggest club in the world. If Real cant beat Barcelona, how can we ? ” Said the captain of Al Sadd Abdullah Koni.
“We must give our best. We came here to study. Realistically, we have only ten percent chance to win, “said Koni.
Still,Fossati wont give up,he see some chances for them.
“There’s a famous manufacturer that uses the slogan ‘impossible is nothing’. I want to believe this now more than ever, even though we’re about to face the undisputed best team in the world.
“This match represents the biggest challenge of my players’ careers. We need to show humility and keep a strong, positive spirit.”
Barca player wont take this match for granted,they come with first team this year,and they want to reach finals and Danny Alves is calling for focus as the club aim to add to their extensive trophy cabinet.
“We’ve come here with the aim of adding another line to the club’s honours list. The fact that Al-Sadd are in the semi-finals of a tournament like this shows the potential of this Qatari side. We all have a lot of respect for one another at this level of competition.”
Squad of 23
Available players,match keys
The whole first team squad have come to Japan, with the exception of the injured Ibrahim Afellay. Also with the squad are Cuenca, Dos Santos and Oier from Barça B.
Al Sadd are able to field a full-strength squad against Pep Guardiola’s men and are likely to line-up with Kader Keita and Khalfan Al Khalfan in support of Niang.
An opponent who doesn’t rule out a surprise
Al-Sadd, meanwhile, are expected to defend deeply, be physically strong, and be dangerous on the counterattack. The team from Doha (Qatar), managed by Uruguayan Jorge Fossatti, have a powerful attacking trio, made up of the Senegalese, Mamadou Niang; the Ivorian, Kader Keita; and the Algerian, Belhadj. They won the right to challenge Barça by beating Esperance, from Tunisia, in the quarter-finals.
Messi on a way to break more records
If he scores on the Club World Cup and the Copa del Rey, Argentinian will equal Pedro record and become the player who managed to score at least one goal in all six competitions in the same season
No disrespect to Al-Sadd but Barcelona is another planet for lots of clubs in this moment,and even for them.
Although Barca need to keep their energy for final match with Santos,Guardiola players will play as they know the best.Great possesion of the ball and lots of actions.
Barca will win this with handicap and margin for goals will reach 2,5 for sure.
Barcelona are expected to rotate their starting line-up from the side that defeated Real Madrid 3-1 at the weekend. Javier Mascherano appears a certainty to come into the defence with Carles Puyol likely to be rested.Messi to score.
Valdes;Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Maxwell;Iniesta, Keita, Thiago;Pedro, Messi, Villa
Saqr;Nabeel, Koni, Lee Jung-Soo, Belhadj;Al-Bloushi, Rizik, Alyazidi;Al Khalfan, Niang, Keita