Atletico Madrid v Barcelona: Andres Iniesta likens Champions League quarter-final to the 'battle of Stamford Bridge'

'This game has something of the Chelsea semi-final about it,' says Barca player who scored the decisive goal against West Londoners in 2009 Champions League clash

madrid

Andres Iniesta plays his 500th game for Barcelona tomorrow night, hoping to relive one of his greatest career moments: scoring in the last minute at Stamford Bridge to beat Chelsea and reach the Champions League final in 2009.

Barcelona will need Iniesta's magic touch more than ever; they have failed to beat Atletico Madrid in four attempts so far this season, scoring only twice, and a 0-0 scoreline after 120 minutes would send the home team through on away goals after the first leg finished 1-1 at the Nou Camp.

"This game has something of the Chelsea semi-final about it," said Iniesta. "They are similar rivals who close down the space on the pitch and make it very uncomfortable for the opposition."

The Barcelona midfielder, who was outstanding in the first leg, has scored only 50 goals in those 499 games so far, but Barcelona have never lost when he has found the net. "I hope that record continues, but I also hope that things go well enough not to need a last-minute goal as we did in London," he said.

Barcelona's failure to beat Atletico Madrid in the four matches this season – two goalless draws and two 1-1 draws – have all come with Lionel Messi failing to score past Chelsea's on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. No one has conceded fewer goals in the Champions League than the Belgian keeper, who also has the best record in La Liga.

Although their defensive strength is not in question, Atletico's staying power has been doubted in recent weeks. If there was a team for whom Jose Mourinho's "small horse" tag is appropriate then it would be Atletico Madrid, whose squad has nowhere near the depth of their domestic rivals Barcelona's and Real Madrid's.

Of the 10 players who have played most minutes this season in Spain, seven of them are Atletico players. One of those is Diego Costa, who started the first leg but came off midway through the first half and is doubtful for tomorrow night's game. He was listed in the squad Atletico coach Diego Simeone has already named, which did not include the injured Arda Turan.

"If he is out it's a big loss for them," said Xavi. "He gives them an out ball, and he works the central defenders so well because he is so quick and strong, he is a vital player."

Underlining the importance of Costa, Simeone said: "He does for us what Ronaldo does for Madrid and Messi for Barcelona." Simeone added that he would play the striker if he was only 90 per cent fit.

"Barcelona are specialists in scoring goals," added the Argentinian coach. "They scored four just down the road from here." The reference was to Barcelona winning the recent league Clasico 4-3.

Iniesta scored in that win but has never done so in the Vicente Calderon stadium. With Barça facing Champions League elimination before the semi-finals for the first time in seven years, tomorrow night would be a good time to get his first.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions