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BARCA FACE CITY

Barcelona will be taking on Manchester City in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 stage of the season. It is already one of the most awaited fixtures, as the latter have been doing extremely well in the Premier league under the guidance of Manuel Pellegrini. Even though they have not entered into the stage of the Champions League in their history, Barcelona manager Gerardo Martino has said that he respects the Premier league outfit hugely. City have spent in excess of £ 700 million in improving the squad over the last few years.

As a result, they have some of the best players in the world like Sergio Aguero and Yaya Touré. Martino says that his team will not be taking City lightly since they have the capability to hurt any team in the world. The first leg will be at the Etihad stadium followed by the second leg at the Camp Nou. This gives Barcelona a slight advantage after having finished top of their group. The Catalan club remain as one of the most prestigious in this tournament after having won the title four times in their history. City, meanwhile, are only looking for their first win.

Martino has pointed out to the recent history of Barcelona in this competition. The Spanish club have made it to the semi-finals in the last six seasons.

“For the last six seasons Barcelona have made it to the semis and the fans are used to it. It will be difficult to understand if we don’t go through but it is the tightest tie of all. I don’t think City are a mini-Barcelona or a mini-any-team. I think they are one of the greatest teams in the world. They have great Spanish players like [Jesús] Navas, who plays very vertically, [David] Silva who knows when to pass and when to cross. But it is not only Spanish players,” said Martino.

[Liga Champions] Glasgow Celtic (2) – (1) Ajax – All Goals & Highlights

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FIFA BACK CURITIBIA

FIFA has confirmed that Curitiba will remain as one of the stadiums set to host important matches at the upcoming World Cup. It was heavily expected that FIFA would drop the stadium from the list of host cities, as they have failed to comply with the December 31 deadline to hand over the stadiums to FIFA.

Brazil has been suffering from huge delays even with basic aspects like stadium completion. Further attributes like transport and infrastructure still remain inadequate to handle the amount of fans expected to arrive in Brazil in June. Read more »

DEFEAT HURTS

Barcelona suffered their first home defeat since April 2012 after a 3-2 loss at the hands of Valencia. This was despite the home team taking the lead very early on in the match. The setback has also been followed by the news that Barcelona have dropped to second in the table due to Atletico Madrid winning their match in hand.

Real Madrid have also closed the gap to Barcelona to just goal difference. This has increased pressure on manager Gerardo Martino, who has stated that Barcelona will return to winning ways in the Copa del Rey match against Real Sociedad. Read more »